A group called the Overpass Light Brigade hold a sign as they gather during a vigil at Cathedral Square to honour victims of Oak Creek in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Reuters/Allen Fredrickson
Three days after the senseless attack on a Wisconsin gurdwara, President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey his condolences and the solidarity of the American people.
Obama spoke with Manmohan Singh on Wednesday morning "to express condolences for victims of the senseless attack at the gurdwara in Wisconsin, which took the lives of Indian nationals as well as Americans, and to convey the solidarity of the American people," according to the White House readout of the call.
Obama "reiterated that the Sikh community is an essential and vibrant part of the American family and underscored that the incident is particularly tragic because it took place in a house of worship".
Manmohan Singh expressed his gratitude for the many messages and gestures of support from the US, and for the prompt reaction and heroism of the local police department, it said.
"The two leaders re-affirmed their nations' commitment to the shared values of pluralism, religious freedom, and freedom of worship," the White House added.
At the State Department, spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said the department was playing a facilitative role "to make sure that our state and local authorities and our national law enforcement authorities are in touch with their Indian counterparts, to the extent that it's necessary".
Mourners cry during a candlelight vigil at the Sikh Temple in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Reuters/John Gress
"We, through our channels as the State Department, obviously also, communicate to Indian authorities through their Embassy here and as well as our Embassy in New Delhi," he said.
"Obviously our communication is ongoing and intensive. We have good lines of communication with the Indians and discuss matters such as these," Ventrell said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton too had called external affairs minister SM Krishna to convey her heartfelt condolences to him and the greater Sikh community both in the US and India, he noted.
"The US and India both strongly share the values of freedom of religion and freedom of worship, and respecting and protecting all faiths," he said. "So that's definitely a message that the Secretary conveyed."