Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sikh temple shooting



"She always knew what I needed and would bring it for me," said Kaur, who noted that Paramjit Kaur had been a recent immigrant to the United States when she herself arrived seven years ago.

Co-worker Baljit Kaur, 45, of West Allis, said Paramjit Kaur talked incessantly and was very friendly. She was also very religious, Baljit Kaur said.
"She prayed every day for an hour to an hour and a half, even when she working," Baljit Kaur said.
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Suveg Singh Khattra was a constant presence at the temple. Most days, his son, a taxi driver, would drop him off there to pray.
Khattra and his wife moved to the United States eight years ago to join their son. On Sunday, the 84-year-old former farmer from northern India was shot and killed.
"He don't have hatred for anybody. He loved to live here," said son Baljinder Khattra, who moved from the family's farm in Patiala, a city in Punjab, in 1994.
Kulwant Kaur, the elder Khattra's daughter-in-law, hid with the other women in the pantry. When a SWAT team evacuated them, Kaur saw Khattra's body lying on the ground.
She tried to touch him to see if he was awake, but officers warned her not to touch anything, said Kaur's son, Mandeep Khattra.
"They told them to keep moving because they were priorities over the bodies," he said.
The elder Khattra spoke no English, communicating instead with neighbors and friends with his hands.
"He (was) very humble. He loved all peoples," Khattra said.
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Prakash Singh's wife and teenage children were living in the temple. Recently, they had moved from India to join the Sikh priest in Wisconsin.
Navdeep Gill, an 18-year-old temple member from Franklin, said Singh had rented an apartment nearby and his family was due to move in by the end of the month. Singh's son and daughter will start school soon; the daughter is in high school and the son is going to be a freshman in high school.
As a Sikh priest, Singh performed daily services, which would have included recitations from the religion's holy book, leading prayers and lecturing on how to practice Sikhism.
Gill said Singh had a fun-loving personality -- "telling jokes and whatnot" -- and looked nothing close to his age of 39.
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Ranjit and Sita Singh shared the bonds of brotherhood -- as siblings and as Sikh priests, both in Wisconsin to serve their faith. The rest of their family is in India, left to make sense of their deaths.
Ten years ago, Ranjit Singh, 49, came to the United States for better opportunities. Once here, he made it his responsibility to take care of everyone who visited the temple.
The temple's secretary, 56-year-old Inderjeet Singh Dhillon, said Monday that Singh made sure guests were well fed, even if he couldn't always express it in English. Dhillon remembered an occasion when five English-speaking visitors stopped in and Singh insisted -- using only gestures that made those at the temple who knew him laugh -- on "food for everybody."
It was the same with Singh's brother, 41-year-old Sita Singh, who had arrived in the United States a year ago. Though Sita Singh was quieter than his brother, he was no less dedicated to the temple's visitors. Both men lived at the temple.
Dhillon said that the younger Singh would wake up every morning between 4:30 and 5 to read the Sikh holy book. Afterward, he would see which visitors had come in and ensure all had prasad, the food offering given at the end of every prayer session.
"It was very important to him that whoever came always left with prasad," Dhillon said.
The elder Singh brother became a mentor to some of the temple members, including Shehbazdeep Kaleka, a 19-year-old from Racine and the nephew of the temple president.
Kaleka said Monday that he turned to Ranjit Singh when he was down and needed advice, because Singh was a positive person.
Singh's most common advice to the 19-year-old was to sing and sing loudly -- it didn't matter what or how well -- and that would lift his spirits.
"It worked every time," Kaleka said, pausing. "He was a very good and honest man. He didn't deserve to die."



http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/08/07/relatives_speak_of_those_killed_in_temple_shooting/?page=2

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