Washington, March 29 (IANS) Members of the Sikh Community joined President Barack Obama as he sought to spur lawmakers into action against gun violence in the wake of tragedies like the Newtown massacre in December that killed 20 first-graders.
"We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn't just a bunch of platitudes, that we meant it," Obama said at a White House event Thursday on a National Day of Action by supporters of tougher gun laws.
"We've cried enough" and it is time now for Americans to pressure their elected leaders to pass a package of laws proposed by Senate Democrats, a sombre and angry Obama told the audience, which included family members of Newtown victims.
Also invited were four prominent members of the Sikh community to represent the families of the victims of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, gurdwara shootout last August when six Sikh worshippers were killed, besides others related to victims of gun tragedies or working for gun control.
Proposals ranging from expanded background checks to tougher laws against gun trafficking and improving safety at schools have been recommended in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.
But they have all come to naught so far in the face of fierce opposition led by the influential National Rifle Association and conservative politicians.
"There are some powerful voices on the other side who are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject," the president said, adding that "their assumption is that people will just forget about it."
If that happens, Obama said, then "shame on us if we've forgotten."
Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), who was among the invitees, said later in a statement: "People inspired by our faiths must work towards making our society safe for all people, and especially for our children."
"We cannot afford another Newtown, Oak Creek or Aurora type of tragedies which tears apart families and communities with senseless violence."
Prabhjot Singh Kohli, Chairman of Guru Nanak Foundation of America (GNFA) said the Sikh community was "actively supporting the control of guns going in the wrong hands" as it feared more such tragedies as the one at the Wisconsin gurdwara.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
--Indo-Asian News Service