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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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Impact commits $10M to supporting Indian American candidates

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Impact

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Indian American IMPACT, a political organization working to put Indian Americans in public office, announced a new $10 million commitment to support Indian American candidates nationwide. They also announced public interest lawyer Neil Makhija will be IMPACT’s new Executive Director. The number of Indian Americans in Congress has grown five-fold in just the past eight years.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr faced questioning by the House Judiciary Committee about the use of force against Black Lives Matter protesters in recent weeks and the Trump administration’s handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll show the clash between Congressmember Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Barr that’s making headlines.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged YouPlus, a Silicon Valley startup, and its CEO Shaukat Shamim with defrauding investors by making false and misleading statements about the company’s finances. The complaint states Shamim told investors YouPlus earned millions of dollars in annual revenue and had more than 100 customers, including Fortune 500 companies. But the scheme dissolved when Shamim is said to have told certain investors YouPlus had earned less than $500,000 and obtained only four paying customers since the company’s 2013 inception.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Feds arrest entrepreneur Mukund Mohan for PPP fraud

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Mukund Mohan

SEATTLE (Diya TV) — U.S. attorneys arrested serial Indian American entrepreneur Mukund Mohan on charges of allegedly defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program with fake and altered documents and embezzling more than $5.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds through six shell companies. Mukund Mohan was a former Microsoft and Amazon executive and is currently the CTO of BuildDirect.

Shahid Buttar, who is running for Congress in San Francisco against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is being accused of sexual harassment by comedienne Elizabeth Croydon. Buttar said Croydon’s charges are false.

Apple manufacturer Foxconn has started building iPhone 11 units in a facility near Chennai in India. It’s the first time Apple has made one of its top-tier phones in India. India is the second-biggest smartphone market in the world, second only to China.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India & China slowly move towards disengagement

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India

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India and China held virtual talks and agreed on a complete disengagement of troops along the line of control. But there remains sticking points in multiple areas along the border. India insists bilateral relations will not improve until “full peace and tranquility” are restored.

Police in Schenectady, New York are facing major scrutiny after footage was released of one of their officers applying a neck hold to 31 year old Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud. He was treated and released, but he continues to face two charges of running away and resisting arrest. He’s accused of slashing his neighbors tire, causing $200 of damage. His attorneys are fighting to get prosecutors to drop the charges.

The UK Parliamentary Group, which visited Pakistan Administered Kashmir, and heavily criticized the Indian government for their recent constitutional change applying to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, acknowledged they received nearly $18,000 from the Pakistan Government to make the trip.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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