How Sikh women mourn the FedEx shooting in Indianapolis

How Sikh women mourn the FedEx shooting in Indianapolis

From the outside, this weekend looked like any other to the women in Sikh Satsang Gurdwara in southwest Indianapolis.

As usual, they sat in a circle, peeling and chopping vegetables. Carrots. Green onions. Ginger.Every weekend a Gurdwara family takes turns shopping and deciding on the menu, usually consisting of vegetables, rotis and mathiai or sweets. However, preparation is a team effort.

Sometimes the women were calm and thoughtful. Other times they were more talkative. They checked their children and grandchildren whenever the children approached their inner circle, when they were taking a break from play.

This weekend wasn’t like any other. They discussed the terrible tragedy in which four people from their community were killed: Amarjeet Kaur Johal, Amarjit Sekhon, Jasvinder Kaur and Jaswinder Singh. All four had visited the Gurdwara before, Jaswinder Kaur told IndyStar, but Amarjeet Kaur Johal was the most regular member of Sikh Satsang.

Two weeks ago it was Johal’s turn to host the weekly dinner.

Komal Chohan speaks to a group of people in the Indianapolis Sikh Satsang as he mourns the loss of four Sikhs in the gunfire at the FedEx Ground Plainfield Operations Center on Southeastern Avenue in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 17, 2021.  Chohan lost a family member in the shooting.

“It’s sad. Nobody would like that. If it happened to our community – someone doesn’t have to be our community – people are human, right?” Said Jaswinder Kaur when she buttered rotis. “A life is a life.”

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Other women also reflected the shock that rocked their hometown.

Surinder Kaur worked the night shift at FedEx and had no fear in the community until this week’s attack. “It’s scary, you never know what someone can do,” said Surinder Kaur.

“I thought it was so safe,” said Prabhjot Kaur, who owns the gas station and liquor store across from FedEx’s Plainfield facility.

Serving women after such a tragedy helped women fight their fears and overwhelming grief. Gurdwara members and guests lined up at a crowded buffet to choose from nearly a dozen dishes after a long afternoon of debating what to do next.

The food and comfort were needed and will now be more than ever.

Contact IndyStar trend reporter Rashika Jaipuriar at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @rashikajpr.