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Indian dignitaries meet with Wis. Sikh survivors

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 10:17 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012

They then filed into the temple's main hall. The congregation sat cross-legged on the floor as Krishna relayed the condolences of the Indian government and people. He said the shooting was even more tragic because it took place in a place of worship and peace.

"All right-thinking people have condemned this dastardly act," he said. "The entire Indian nation and government are behind you, and the entire United States government and people are behind you."

Rao and Tuma did not speak.

Temple trustee Harcharan Gill then led the group around the building, explaining how Page mounted his attack. Then Krishna, Rao and Toma spent about fifteen minutes meeting behind closed doors with the victims' families.

Afterward Krishna held a brief news conference in the temple's foyer, telling reporters he appreciated that President Barack Obama expressed his condolences to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is a Sikh. Again he told temple members "the whole nation is behind you. The whole of India is behind you and can rest assured we will stand united with you."

Rao said the entourage admired perseverance of the victims' families and promised to help them.

Rahul Dubey, the 26-year-old godson of temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, whom Page killed after Kaleka attacked him a butter knife, said he appreciated the visit, calling it a "good thought for the Indian government."

He said the congregation has been living a nightmare since the shootings. He called Page a psychopath but insisted the Sikhs don't hate him.

"Forgiveness, that's what we do," Dubey said. "We practice peace."

Kaleka's brother, Jagjit Singh Kaleka, said his brother died a martyr and met his death with courage. He wasn't impressed with all the pomp and circumstance, calling the visit a token political gesture.

"I really don't expect anything from them," he said.