A leading farmer from Duggal village of Patiala district, Satwant Singh Kaleka had moved to the US in 1982. A successful businessman, Kaleka was a man of faith. And, on Monday, he died defending it.
Identified as the first victim of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting in the US, Kaleka was the brother-in-law of Punjab cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra. He sacrificed his life while trying to save the devotees of the gurdwara that he had helped build.
Head of the committee of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin built 18 years ago, 65 year-old Kaleka was sitting in the front room of the gurdwara when he first heard the gunshots.
"When he came out and saw a bald man of about 6 ft shooting, Kaleka tried to stop the attacker by grabbing him from the back, but got wounded in the process," Harinder Singh Gill, a trust member of the Gurdwara told HT over phone from the US.
Reports suggest Kaleka received more than four gunshots during his around 2-minute long "fight" with the attacker and later died when he went to a room of the Gurdwara.
"We are proud of the courage my brother showed in the attempt to stop the attacker," said Amarjeet Singh, retired additional excise and taxation commissioner.
Trust members said Kaleka had played a pivotal role in the making of the new Gurdwara in Oak Creek by managing a land of more than 10 acres.
"Even if a small like a glass was needed at the gurdwara, Kaleka used to be the first one to get it. For the Gurdwara, he was available 24X7," said Raghubir Singh, a Sikh community member from Oak Creek. Kaleka had received more than five gunshots and later succumbed to his injuries.
He is survived by his wife Satpal Kaleka and two sons.