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U.S. awards grant for health services a year after Wisconsin Sikh shooting

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - The U.S. government awarded a $512,000 grant on Friday to fund trauma and mental health services for the Sikh community in southern Wisconsin, nearly a year after a white supremacist killed six Sikh worshippers at a temple near Milwaukee.

The first anniversary of the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin is Monday. Some experts have suggested that the man who opened fire might have thought the Sikhs were Muslim. The Sikh religion originated in India and is not related to Islam.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a blog posting that the grant to the Wisconsin state government is meant to pay for mental health and trauma services for those affected by the shootings, including relatives of victims, witnesses and first responders.

A year later, people connected to victims of the shooting are still suffering and can benefit from the financial assistance, said Satpal Kaleka, widow of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the temple's president who died in the shootings.

"It's wonderful," she said of the money.

In June, the U.S. government announced that it would track hate crimes in more detail, including Sikhs in the list of the categories on which it collects statistics. Some Sikh leaders had said in the wake of the shooting that this data was needed to show the extent of such hate crimes.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune and Carol Bishopric)

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune and Greg Mccune)

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