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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Gurdwara Avenue’ proposal riles up San Jose

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San Jose Gurdwara
San Jose Sikh Gurdwara

San Jose Sikh Gurdwara

SAN JOSE (Diya TV) — Hearing the kind of applause, screams and general passion at the Evergreen Library in San Jose normally would require earbuds. But a festive atmosphere was allowed in this case, with the library playing host to a rancorous community debate.

The issue that brought an overflow crowd to the library was a proposal to change the name of Murillo Avenue between Quimby and Aborn to Gurdwara Avenue, site of North America’s largest Sikh temple.

The name change involves just one city block, but that didn’t stop scores of vociferous community members from speaking out against change of any kind. Efforts to establish ‘Gurdwara Avenue’ began a couple of years ago, but the outcry against it was fierce and the proposal was shelved. Now Gurdwara leaders, supported by the increasingly important Indian-American community, are efforting to bring this proposal to life.

The Evergreen neighborhood, where the Gurdwara is situated, is part of the 17th Congressional District, the only mainland U.S. district to be majority Asian-American.

San Jose resident KP Singh says the name change is important to the Sikh community as a matter of respect and inclusion. “It’s an emotional issue. The Gurdwara is not a place of worship for Sikhs only. It has four doors that signifies you can come from any direction,” said Singh.

Sikhs have been in California for more than 100 years and the first Asian-American member of Congress was Sikh, the late Dilip Singh Saund. While Gurdwaras are at the center of Sikh life, they are open to all members of society.Yet for many in this immigrant-laden community, the religious ties of the Gurdwara and the Sikh faith are too prominent and would, in their eyes, infringe on their worldview and religious beliefs.

“The name change emphasizes an exclusive street and area in favor of a specific religion, although the same street is accessed by the Sikhs and the Christians. This is an insult and an attack on other religions and non-believers,” said Chinese-American Seh-Yi Wu of San Jose.

Ash Kalra, the only Indian-American on the San Jose City Council, attended the meeting, as did his colleague Cindy Chavez. Neither councilmember can express their opinion until a formal vote is conducted for fear of undue influence on the planning commission, where the proposal currently resides.

Kalra, the attorney turned lawmaker, terms out of the city council at the end of year. So he would like to put his stamp on this decision, adding “everyone that’s here is lucky that all we are arguing about is the name of a road.”

A simple majority of the city council will make the final call on the matter. City officials expect a hearing to take place by the end of the calendar year.

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Ex-Minneapolis cop charged with George Floyd’s murder

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Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (Diya TV) — One of the Minneapolis police officers fired for their role in the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd died after he was pinned to the ground by those officers, with Chauvin keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The other officers are under investigation, but no charges were announced. The arrest comes after a night of tumult in Minneapolis, where a police station and new housing project were burned down and stores were looted.

Protests that were largely limited to Minneapolis this week have now spread around the nation. From New York to Atlanta, Washington to San Jose, thousands of people outraged over Floyd’s death have taken to the streets. While gatherings started as peace expressions of grief, many of them have turned violent.

President Trump announced there will be a federal investigation over Floyd’s death. But he’s also caused controversy with a tweet quoting George Wallace that said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in reaction to the fires set in Minneapolis.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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In Oval Office, Trump offers personal mediation to India-China

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Trump

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) —  President Trump, when asked in the Oval Office to comment on the growing India-China border dispute, said he would be happy to mediate any issues between the two nations. Trump added he spoke to Prime Minister Modi and claims Modi “is not in a good mood about what’s going on with China.”

The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum normally holds events at high-end hotels. But this time out, their West Coast Summit brought dignitaries together virtually, featuring speakers like Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and FedEx President Raj Subramaniam to discuss the growing U.S.-India relationship.

The Indian government is allowing Indian Americans with Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards to return. They had restricted such travel as part of India’s strict lockdown two months ago.

And bad weather delayed a landmark U.S. trip into space by NASA and SpaceX. It was to be the first space mission with astronauts aboard powered by a private company. Instead, they will aim to lift off once again on Saturday.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Somber milestone: 100,000 Americans lost to COVID-19

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COVID-19

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Three months into the pandemic, America hit a grim milestone — 100,000 dead in the U.S. at the hands of COVID-19. Cases continue to rise in 14 states, including California. 1.7 million Americans are now afflicted with COVID-19.

In a tweet, President Trump chimed into the growing India-China border dispute, offering to have American officials meditate to keep the peace. China already has ongoing rifts with Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet — regions with underlying calls for independence. And there are many asking for American intervention in those matters. We’ll analyze all of these movements.

Peaceful protests have turned into riots in Minneapolis after the senseless killing of George Floyd by police. The four officers involved have been fired. And now Minneapolis’ mayor wants criminal charges for 44 year old Derek Chauvin, the now fired officer who suffocated Floyd to death while onlookers screamed for him to stop.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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