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U.S. Sikh Army Capt. sues DoD for religious discrimination, wins judgment

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An image from Singh's Facebook account

An image from Singh’s Facebook account

WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) — Capt. Simratpal Singh, an officer of the United States Army, earned a small victory Thursday evening in his ongoing legal battle to wear a turban and maintain his long hair and beard while in uniform.

District Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled that the service must stop “any non-standard or discriminatory testing” involving the tailoring of Capt. Singh’s helmet and gas mask. Singh’s attorneys fought for the ruling after the Army ordered him to participate in a three-day test at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. In their initial complaint, Singh’s legal team wrote that such tests would “expose Captain Singh to serious consequences of military discipline and the loss of his career for his religious exercise.”

Additionally, the complaint also asks the judge to force the Army to accommodate Singh’s “religious exercise in maintaining uncut hair and a beard and wearing a turban.” There is precedent surrounding the matter, at least three Sikh officers, all working in medical positions, have received the same accommodation. Singh serves with the 249th Engineer Battalion at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and has a temporary waiver which expires at the end of the month.

Singh received a Bronze Star for his efforts while serving in Afghanistan, and strictly adhered to the Army grooming and uniform standards from the time he entered the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated in 2010. However, late last year, shortly before he was scheduled to begin serving with the 249th, Singh informed his unit’s commanding officer that he intended to report for duty wearing his turban and long hair and beard. He was promised support for the waiver from leadership within his unit, according to the complaint.

Diya TV made contact with a Defense Department spokesman, who would not comment on the case, citing pending litigation.

“We have been advocating for the simple, straightforward, equal right to serve for years and held onto the belief that the military would correct this injustice once they realized their mistake,” said Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition, in a news release announcing the court’s ruling. “The military’s treatment of Captain Singh, a decorated soldier, makes it clear that they deliberately want to squash diversity and religious freedom in their ranks and that’s not something that any court or American should ever tolerate.”

Aside from the defense Singh is receiving from the Sikh Coalition, he has additional backing from the nonprofit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a group that specializes in religious-freedom cases, as well as lawyers with the international firm McDermott Will & Emery.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson pushes for India COVID relief

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Rev. Jesse Jackson pushes for India COVID relief | Diya TV News

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Reverend Jesse Jackson is standing in solidarity with Indian Americans in California who are rallying the community to send more Covid-19 relief to India.  Reverend Jackson is also voicing solidarity for other communities of color as African Americans celebrate Juneteenth, the new Federal holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S.

And Satya Nadella is now even more powerful at Microsoft. The tech giant’s CEO was named chairman of the board elevating his current role atop one of the world’s most valuable companies. The Indian American has served as chief executive since 2014, has helped transform the PC maker into a leader in cloud computing in recent years, resulting in  a market cap of close to $2 trillion.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has given away another massive chunk of her fortune. This time nearly 3  billion dollars to a variety of charities. Several Indian organizations like Goonj, Antara Foundation, and GiveIndia have also benefited from this generosity.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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US – India trade hits record $9 billion

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U.S.-India trade hits record $9 billion | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Diya TV) — For the second month in a row, the U.S.-India bilateral goods trade crossed $9 billion dollars.  It had never happened once before that. This is a comprehensive document covering trade in goods and services, and shows India and the U.S. remain strong strategic partners.

the U.S. Senate confirmed Radhika Fox as the first Indian American and woman of color to lead the office of water at the Environmental Protection Agency. Her supporters say she will focus on making sure everyone’s point of view is heard and taken into account.

And British Pakistani rapper Frenzo Harami is being criticized for his anti Hindu post on Instagram. Harami uses vulgar language to describe Hindu minorities living in Kashmir. He apparently went on this tirade after claiming youtube banned one of his videos.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India’s COVID rate drops dramatically

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India’s COVID rate drops dramatically | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India’ s Covid-19 infection rates are starting to consistently drop each day.  The ministry of health reported a little more than 60,000 cases in the past 24 hours. That’s a dramatic decrease from the peak of more than 400,000 cases in one day just a few months ago. 

India has also decided to partially open the Taj Mahal to visitors. And as restrictions ease, several shops, malls, and restaurants have started to reopen in multiple cities this week. but Authorities continue to advise mask wearing and social distancing.

Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a dinner party for a bipartisan group of female senators at her official Washington, DC residence. 16 Democrats and eight Republicans. Vice President Harris is doing this against the backdrop of intense negotiations over President Biden’s agenda in Congress and a border crisis raging on her watch.

And one of the fiercest critics of Big Tech companies like Apple and Amazon is now leading the Federal Trade Commission.  Lina Khan will be tasked with voting on enforcement matters in areas of both competition and consumer protection. the 32 year old South Asian will be the youngest person to ever lead the agency.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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