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India’s Dalits rally against Caste Prejudices

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Dalits
India's Dalit population are rallying against what they believe is a discriminatory and prejudicial caste system.

India’s Dalit population are rallying against what they believe is a discriminatory and prejudicial caste system.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Outrage was stirred across all of India after last month’s savage beatings of Dalits — Indian men regarded as the lowest rung of the country’s caste hierarchy — in the town of Una in the western state of Gujarat.

The men were beaten by a group of upper-caste men, the even showcased how the rigid social hierarchy persists more than 65 years after India instituted laws banning caste discrimination.

Each day in newspapers in India are littered with the stories of injustices against Dalits and their oppression by upper-caste Hindus. In a past month, a 13-year-old girl was beaten up for drinking from a temple water pump; a Dalit team in the traditional Indian sport of kabaddi attacked by a rival upper-caste squad for winning a match; an impoverished Dalit couple hacked to death following a disagreement with an upper-caste shopkeeper over a debt of 15 rupees (22 cents).

Dalits, formerly referred to as “untouchables,” fall victim to such attacks each year in the thousands, despite the fact laws have been enacted to protect them since India declared its independence. Even still, little has changed in how the public and officials react to the attacks, social scientists and Dalit activists say.

The outrage and protests that spread across India following the incident in Una are viewed as signs that the Dalit community will no longer tolerate the injustices they face, said Beena Pallickal of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

“Una was a turning point in our fight,” she said recently in her office in New Delhi. “The Dalit community will no longer stay silent. We will rise in protest against all forms of prejudice.”

According to figures from the 2011 census, 204 million Dalits reside in India, a country of well over one billion.

As the country and its economy continue to develop, so does the urbanization of India — people from all walks of life and of different religious practices are being brought closer together, as this is happening, these same people are becoming less concerned with centuries-old caste divisions and traditional prejudices, analysts say.

However, for some Dalits, change is happening fast enough. A new class of educated Dalits have emerged from the fold, demanding an end to caste bigotry and discrimination – demands that sometimes touch off deadly clashes between communities. India’s National Crime Records Bureau reports that more than 700 Dalits were killed in attacks in 2014, the last year for which data is available.

Chandra Bhan Prasad, a Dalit writer, says there is a conflict between the past and the future that younger Dalits envision for themselves.

“This new generation of Dalits cannot tolerate humiliation. Nor will they accept it,” said Prasad. “They may have done so before, because they saw no way out of their subjugation at the hands of upper-caste Hindus, but not anymore.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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