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In wake of FedEx mass shooting, Norwich Sikh leader says fight hate with 'love and education'

Following the April 15 shooting in Indianapolis, Sikh Sewak Society International USA President and Sikh Art Gallery Director Swaranjit Singh Khalsa of Norwich issued a statement expressing the importance of more education to combat hate crimes.

Four of the eight victims of the shooting, at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, were from the Sikh community: Amarjit Kaur Sekhon, 48; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Amarjit Kaur Johal, 66; and Jaswinder Singh, 68, according to CNN, and Indianapolis is home to thousands of Sikhs. Matthew R. Alexander, 32, Samaria Blackwell, 19, Karli Smith, 19, and John Weisert, 74, also were killed.

The incident reminded the Sikh community of the 2012 shooting in Oak Creek, Wisc., in which six Sikhs were killed in their place of worship, and left the community in shock again, Khalsa said in a statement.

"I request the Sikh community to fight this hate with love and education," he said. "It is very sad to see that Sikhs came to this country to be safe as they were the victim of the 1984 Sikh Genocide by India in their own homeland and now they are not even safe here."

He called on Congress to pass gun reforms and provide full funding for education and mental health. He also encouraged Sikh Advocacy Groups "to contact the FBI and make sure this incidence is treated under proper category."

On behalf of the Sikh community of Connecticut, he said he is praying for everyone who lost their loved ones and is dedicating himself to promoting education and awareness about Sikh faith.

A small prayer service open to all will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, at Gurudwara Sachkhand Darbar, 330 Welton St. in Hamden.

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