India's foreign minister says he has received U.S. assurances of the Indian community's safety, following the killing of six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
S.M. Krishna told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday that he urged the full protection of all places of worship in the United States during a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late Monday.
The foreign minister said Clinton, who is on a visit to South Africa, assured him that the Indian community's interests are "going to be quite safe under the present administration." Krishna said the secretary of state was "as disturbed as any one of us is in India."
Authorities say a gunman Sunday killed five men and one woman at the temple near the city of Milwaukee, before he was shot dead by police.
Officials have identified the gunman as 40-year-old Wade Michael Page. They say he served in the U.S. Army for about six years in the 1990s before being discharged for misconduct.
U.S. officials say they are investigating possible ties between Page and white supremacist groups and that the shooting is being probed as an act of domestic terrorism.
A U.S. group that monitors extremists - the Southern Poverty Law Center - says Page was a member of a white supremacist band called End Apathy.
Sikhs, who wear turbans and beards, have been mistaken in the United States for Muslims and sometimes targeted for hate crimes, including a Sikh who was killed in the state of Arizona four days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama said "soul searching" is needed about how to reduce violence in America. He said Americans would "recoil" in shock if it turned out the shooter was motivated by ethnic hatred.
The president ordered flags at federal buildings to be flown at half-staff through Friday.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, said he was shocked and saddened by the assault, calling it a "dastardly attack." India is home to a majority of the world's Sikhs.
Investigators said three others were hospitalized in critical condition, including a policeman who was shot eight or nine times before a second policeman killed Page.
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded more than 500 years ago in the Punjab district of what is now India and Pakistan.
Authorities say the worldwide population of Sikhs is 20 million, with 400,000 to 1 million Sikhs in the U.S.