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USA Steinberg, Law Enforcement Leaders Talk To Sikh Community


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Steinberg, law enforcement leaders talk to Sikh community

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - The Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg spoke at the Sikh Temple in Sacramento Sunday to show solidarity with the community.

Steinberg was joined by the West Sacramento police chief and a representative from the Elk Grove Police Department to highlight the need for cross cultural education after two Sikh men were shot during an afternoon walk.

Surinder Singh, 65, who was killed, and his friend, Gurmej Atwal, 78, who was critically wounded, were gunned down on Friday, March 4.

Police believe the attack was a hate crime because both men wore turbans in accordance with their religion and no other motive has surfaced. Members of the Sikh community have previously said Sikh men are often mistaken for Muslims because of the headwear.

Steinberg talked about holding a Sikh culture day so members of the community could get a better understanding about the Sikh religion and gain understanding about the Sikh people. The tentative date for the event is April 13.

"The Sikh American community needs to know that they are not alone," Steinberg said. "It's also a reminder as I said inside that we've come a long way in combating discrimination and prejudice. But the work is never done. We always have to be about educating, especially young people."

The Sikh Temple will hold a community awareness meeting on April 9 for people to ask questions and get to know the Sacramento Sikh community.

"Ultimately, being the melting pot in America, coming together as one and supporting each other's religion is the fabric of what this country is built upon," Elk Grove Resident Charan Parmar said.

There were about 150 people from the Sikh community at the event.

The reward for finding the shooter is at $43,000.