Thousands to Honor Sikh Temple Victims Today

Eric Holder, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan will attend memorial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2012 3:43 AM CDT
Thousands to Honor Sikh Temple Victims Today
Members of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin wash items as they return for the first time in Oak Creek, Wis., Thursday, Aug 9, 2012.   (JEFFREY PHELPS)

Thousands of mourners are expected to gather this morning to pay their final respects to the six worshipers gunned down by a white supremacist at their Sikh temple over the weekend in Wisconsin. US Attorney General Eric Holder will join mourners from around the world for the service, which will include prayers and hymns. Afterward mourners plan to return to the temple and begin a traditional rite called "akhand path," a ceremony that involves a series of priests reading their holy book aloud from cover to cover. The process, which takes 48 hours, is intended to honor the memories of the six victims.

"We want to pay homage to the spirits who are still in there," says Harpreet Singh, the nephew of one of the victims. Other dignitaries expected to attend the funeral include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and US Congressman Paul Ryan. Those killed in the shooting included Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, the temple president who was shot as he tried to fend off Page with a butter knife. The other victims included Ranjit Singh, 49, and his 41-year-old brother, Sita Singh; Suveg Singh Khattra, 84; Prakash Singh, 39; and Paramjit Kaur, 41. The temple was re-opened yesterday, and workers spent the day cleaning up, repairing bullet damage, and re-painting walls. (More Sikh temple shooting stories.)

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