Michelle to meet Gurdwara shooting victims

Washington: US First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Wisconsin next week to meet the victims and family members of the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting that killed six Sikh worshippers.

The scheduled visit of the First Lady to Wisconsin is on August 23, the White House said adding it was part of Obama Administration`s reach out to the Sikh Community who were shattered by the Gurdwara shooting.

The Sikh community has welcomed the White House announcement as a great gesture. Michelle would be meeting the victims and family members of those who were killed in the tragic incident, the White House said.

"It is great to hear that First lady will be comforting the families devastated by the violence in the Sikh gurdwaras motivated by hate and it is unquestionably a kind gesture. It is important that these families hear firsthand how she and the President feel about this terrible tragedy," said Dr Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council.

"It is indeed critical that the top leadership acts in such a dignified manner to heal the raw wounds of the families and the entire Sikh community. Sikhs have come together as a family and these bullets had hit our hearts," he said.

Singh added that a visit by the First Lady will be reassuring and heartening and it will be powerful symbol of President Obama embracing the Sikhs at this serious juncture. "A visit of this sort restores the faith of the nation and brings everyone together," he said.

Six Sikh worshippers, including four Indian nationals, were killed when a white supremacist identified as Wade Michael Page went on a shooting rampage inside the Gurdwara on August 5.

The shooting incident had shocked the entire nation and India as well, with the Sikh community terming it as an incident of hate crime. The US President, Barack Obama, had called for some "soul searching" after the incident.