Interfaith candlelight vigil to honor Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal at Sikh Religious Society Palatine, Illinois

PALATINE, Illinois: In remembrance of slain Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal of Houston’s Harris County Sheriff’s Department, an interfaith prayer service and candlelight vigil was organized by Sikh Religious Society Palatine, Illinois, on October 2. Hundreds attended to pay their respects despite the fierce rainstorm in Chicago area that day.

Dhaliwal was headed back to his patrol car during a traffic stop on September 29, when a suspect shot him from behind. Dhaliwal is survived by his wife and three children. Dhaliwal, 42, was the county’s first Sikh Deputy when he joined the force 10 years ago, and became a national figure after convincing the Department to allow him to wear religious attire and grow a beard while on patrol. This opened doors for many others who followed him in Houston area and many parts of the country. He was honored nationwide for his ultimate sacrifice.

The vigil started indoors with Kirtan (singing of Sikh hymns) and Ardaas (Sikh prayer) in the langar hall of the Palatine Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship).

Fifteen speakers, representing Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, , violence prevention communities, civil action oriented organizations, police chiefs and officers and  local legislators addressed the gathering. The speakers paid tributes to Dhaliwal for his exemplary service to his community on the job in uniform and also as a private citizen in times of need during natural disasters.

The speakers shared their personal stories of who Dhaliwal was and what he meant to the community and Sikh youth. They reminded the audience that gun violence impacts every community and all religions, races and ages.

Dr. Pardeep Singh Gill, President of Sikh Religious Society Palatine opened the program and welcomed the guests.

Rajinder Singh Mago coordinated  the organizing committee and moderated the  speakers panel. Laddi Singh gave a vote of thanks at the end and recognized elected officials.

The speakers panel consisted of Dr. Pardeep Singh Gill, U.S. Congressman from Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthy, Illinois State Senator Ann Gillespie, Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman, Azam Nizamuddin from the Muslim community, Jasvir Kaur Singh and Satnaam Singh Mago from the Sikh community, Cathy Risberg of NWSOFA, Jim McGrath from Illinois Gun Violence Prevention, Regina Brent, President of Unity Partnership, Village of Lisle Police Chief David Anderson and Deputy Chief Police of Northbrook, Ron Wilke, President of NAACP DuPage County Michael Childress, Palatine Township Committeeman Matt Flamm, Maria Pike from MomsDemandAction, and Police Officer Pardeep Singh Deol.

There were more than a dozen police officers including Sikh officers from the neighboring towns and one officer from Michigan who attended the vigil. They were thanked for their service, honored for their sacrifices, and given a rousing standing ovation.

Police officers Pardeep Singh Deol and Daman Singh took turns to announce the 94 police officers killed in line of duty this year and a candle was lit for each one of them.

Finally a moment of silence for all fallen police officers in line of duty including Deputy Dhaliwal was observed and candles were lit in their honor.

All the participants of the event were invited to partake in the “langar,” the community kitchen vegetarian meal.

The event was coordinated by Rajinder Singh Mago, Dr. Pardeep Singh Gill, Amardev Singh, Officer Pardeep Singh Deol, Roger Chawla, Jasvir Kaur Singh, Sarwan Singh Raju, Thakar Singh Basati, Laddi Singh, Hardial Singh Deol, Indermohan Singh Mokha, Surinderpal Singh Kalra, and the Sikh Religious Society, Palatine, Illinois staff.

Photos: Indermohan Singh Mokha