Honoring Deputy Dhaliwal: A 48-hour prayer ceremony

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Saturday, October 3, 2020
Honoring Deputy Dhaliwal: A 48-hour prayer ceremony
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Even during the pandemic, people came to pay their respects in honor of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal. Press play to learn more about the ceremony and the memory the first Sikh deputy in Harris County left behind.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Friday, Oct. 2 in Houston marked Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal Day in honor of the Harris County deputy who was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop in September last year.

Dhaliwal was the first person from the Sikh community in the county to become a deputy, and other members who share his faith decided to honor his life with a 48-hour continuous prayer ceremony. The ceremony involves reading from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, from Friday until Sunday morning.

READ MORE: 'Pioneering' deputy dies after being shot from behind: sheriff

"Nonstop, continuously, we read this book day and night," said Sampuran Singh, with the Sikh National Center. "That's been a tradition for the last three, four centuries."

Dhaliwal became a Harris County deputy back in 2009 after meeting then-Sheriff Adrian Garcia at Dhaliwal's place of worship called a Gurdwara. Dhaliwal started wearing a turban on duty after religious leaders from the Gurdwara urged him to.

"When you're wearing a turban, it's the hand of God on your head," explained Dhaliwal's brother-in-law, Deepak Rai. "It's just like a blessing when you're wearing a turban, and you feel proud wearing a turban."

SEE ALSO: Remembering Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal 1 year later

According to the Sikh religion, the word "Sikh" means student, and one of the ways to become closer to God is through good deeds to the community.

Dhaliwal embodied that through his selfless service.

"He would just try to teach us everything, like kindness," said Dhaliwal's niece, Nimrat Rai. "Like, if you be kind to people, they'll be kind back. Just show a smile. Be a leader, not a follower."

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