Washington: In 10 days after the tragic shootout that killed six worshippers and left three others injured, Sikh community in Wisconsin have raised over Rs 1.4 crore for the victims families.
"It's an outpouring of support. We are overwhelmed," Dr Kulwant S Dhaliwal from Sikh Temple of Wisconsin said. The memorial fund drive for the families of victims has reached its 85 per cent of the target amount of USD 3,000 in just 10 days, Dhaliwal said.
The temple authorities had initially planned to raise the fund in 90 days.
The money would be given to victim's families and would also be given to those who were injured, Dhaliwal said, adding that donations are coming from all over the country and also from Punjab, and other cities in Britain and Canada.
"It is an unexpected response," he said. In addition to the online fund raising efforts by the Wisconsin Gurdwara, which as of on Wednesday was USD 254,088; donations are coming from other sources and organizations also, he said.
For instance the Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, who attended the memorial service and stayed in Wisconsin, has announced Rs 5 lakh each to each of the victims' families, Dhaliwal said.
The Sacramento Sikh Temple in California said it has sent USD 11,000 to the Wisconsin Gurdwara to benefit the victims, including law enforcement.
Meanwhile the family of the Gurdwara president Satwant Singh Kaleka, which had set up the website for online donation, said, they will not take the money.
Kaleka was shot and killed while heroically attempting to take down the shooter.
Instead, 100 per cent of all contributions will go directly to lower-income families who lost loved ones, those injured in the shooting, and to repairing the temple, said an announcement on the website.
Six members of the 400-person congregation were shot and killed at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple on August 5, in what officials are treating as a case of domestic terrorism.
"In this hour of grief, we thank the thousands of people around the globe who have offered their support and their prayers, and we encourage them to support those victims and families who are most in need.
Together, we must work to repair our community and finally address the epidemic of violence in America," said Amardeep Kaleka, the son of Satwant Singh Kaleka and founder of the website.