New Delhi: The last rites of the US gurudwara shooting the victims were held on Friday. Among those who attended the funeral was Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, US Attorney General Eric Holder and other dignitaries.
Six worshippers were killed in a shooting rampage by former US army man Wade Page, who also died of self-inflicted wounds. Police are yet to ascertain the motive. Meanwhile, the Gurudwara was reopened on Friday, six days after the attack.
Thousands of mourners gathered at a gym at Oak Creek High School on Friday to honour the Sikh worshippers killed.
Sikh religious leaders led prayers and hymns, while mourners, some sobbing and embracing, looked upon the open caskets of the members of the Sikh community killed five days ago by Wade Michael Page, who then turned a gun on himself.
In the gym, which is about two miles (3.2 km) south of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where the shooting occurred, US Attorney General Eric Holder told mourners: "Last Sunday morning, this community witnessed the very worst of humankind. But for every minute, every hour, and every day since then, you have exemplified and inspired the very best in who we are."
Holder said he attended the memorial "with a heavy heart" on behalf of US President Barack Obama and all Americans.
"The love people in America have shown us has strengthened our resolve," said
Dr. Manminder Singh Sethi, a temple member who helped usher mourners to seats. "This was an isolated case. We are a simple living people."
"My heart goes out to the family of the assailant too," Sethi added. "That life was also a life lost."
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, addressing the gathering, also praised the response of the Sikh community to the shootings.
"As Americans we are one. When you attack one of us, you attack all of us," Walker said. "This week, our friends and neighbors in the Sikh community showed us the best way to respond is with love."
Some mourners wore turbans in white, yellow, black and blue. Others wore white baseball caps or simple white wraps as they made their way forward toward the caskets amid a large police presence.
With additional information from Reuters