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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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India’s tariff upsets Washington state’s apple cart

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India's Tariff upsets Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Diya TV) — Washington State’s apple industry is upset after India hiked duties on their fruit, saying it’s hard to sell products to other markets when losing reliable and established markets like India.

The U.S. told India it is considering caps on H-1B work visas for countries that force foreign companies to store data locally, widening the two countries’ posturing over tariffs and trade.

The Indian government said they will not allow foreign companies to operate multiple brands in the same sector to preclude predatory pricing.

Facebook may not launch Libra in India, their new cryptocurrency offering because current regulations in India do not permit the use of the nation’s banking network for blockchain currency transactions.

And the South Asian Bar Association National Convention is underway in Atlanta. Diya TV is a proud sponsor of this annual event that brings legal scholars from around the country to network and embolden the community.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Business

Indian IT companies curb H-1B premium processing

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H1-B visa premium processing

MUMBAI (Diya TV) — Indian IT services companies are not racing to use a H1-B visa premium processing option as in years past due to a changing business model and higher rejection rates.

Google announced a $1 billion commitment to help alleviate Silicon Valley’s housing crisis, saying they will add about 20,000 homes. While the housing plan is welcomed, many critics are upset that Google is able to do this because they exploit tax loopholes to shelter billions of dollars in revenue.

PG&E, the California public utility blamed for igniting several wildfires caused by downed power lines that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes, agreed to pay $1 billion in damages to local governments.

Laxman Narasimhan will becoming CEO of consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser this fall.

He was Chief Commercial Officer at PepsiCo.

And India’s lunar lander will launch this July for the moon, and will launch its first mission to study the sun in 2020. ISRO is also planning to have a space station for India by 2030.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Basketball

Deaths of Indian American family in Iowa ruled murder-suicide

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Iowa murder suicide

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Diya TV) — Iowa police say the shooting deaths of an Indian American family in West Des Moines, Iowa was a murder-suicide. Police said autopsies determined 44-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara’s death was a suicide. And the deaths of his wife, 41-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, and their two boys, aged 15 and 10, were homicides.

Top diplomats from the U.S. and India are meeting later this month to continue trade negotiations.

India said this week they will increase tariffs on US exports effective immediately, impacting items like apples, almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

The tax has raised the ire of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who blamed the situation on President Trump. California almond exports to India are worth more than $650 million a year.

21-year-old Bishwajeet Kumar Jha, who authorities say was the head of a group of Indian college students who cheated more than 20 people out of nearly $1 million in a tech support telemarketing fraud scheme, received a five year sentence to prison in Rhode Island.

And we’ll introduce you to the pioneering broadcasters who called the NBA Finals in Punjabi for the very first time.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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