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President Obama lights first Diya in Oval Office history

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President Barack Obama lit a Diya in the Oval Office to celebrate Diwali Sunday.

President Barack Obama lit a Diya in the Oval Office to celebrate Diwali Sunday.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — U.S. President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali on Sunday, he lit the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office of the White House, saying he hopes those who occupy the office after him make the tradition annual.

It’s not the first precedent Obama has set during Diwali season in Washington — in 2009, he became the first president to celebrate the festival in the White House. The Diya was lit during a ceremony in the Oval Office alongside Indian-American members of his administration.

“I was proud to be the first President to host a Diwali celebration at the White House in 2009, and Michelle and I will never forget how the people of India welcomed us with open arms and hearts and danced with us in Mumbai on Diwali,” Obama said.

“This year, I was honored to kindle the first-ever Diya in the Oval Office — a lamp that symbolizes how darkness will always be overcome by light. It is a tradition that I hope future Presidents will continue,” Obama said on the White House Facebook page.

“On behalf of the entire Obama family, I wish you and your loved ones peace and happiness on this Diwali.

“To all who are celebrating the festival of lights across America and around the world, happy Diwali. As Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists light the diya, share in prayers, decorate their homes, and open their doors to host and feast with loved ones, we recognise that this holiday rejoices in the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” he added.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has scores of support from the Indian-American community, greeted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains across the world on the occasion of Diwali.

“On Sunday, nearly a billion Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world — including more than two million Americans — will celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. For members of these faiths, lighting the lamp (the diya) is a reminder that light prevails over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil,” Clinton said.

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Suspects in Hyderabad gang rape murder killed by police

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Suspects in Hyderabad gang rape murder killed by police | Diya TV News

Hyderabad, India (Diya TV)  — Four suspects in the rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed by police, who claim the four men were shot in self-defense. The action is drawing praise from the family of the victim but criticism from some lawmakers and civil rights groups.

Protests erupted in India this week seeking justice for this latest victim of sexual assault. Earlier in the week, a 23-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh heading to testify against a man who allegedly raped her multiple times was set on fire by a group of five men she says included her rapist, who was free on bail. She remains in critical condition.

In a terse letter denouncing impeachment proceedings, The White House signaled it does not intend to mount a defense of President Trump or otherwise participate in the House impeachment hearings. The decision by the administration likely accelerates the pace of impeachment. Hearings continue Monday.

Texas Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher introduced legislation to honor Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal’s memory by renaming a post office in Houston in his honor.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian rape survivor set on fire before trial testimony

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Rape

UNNAO, India (Diya TV)  — A 23-year-old woman in India heading to testify against a man who allegedly raped her multiple times was set on fire by a group of five men she says included her rapist, who was free on bail. Doctors at the Lucknow hospital she was brought to say she is in very serious condition, with burn injuries to 90% of her body. Local police say all five suspects are in custody. India’s National Commission for Women are seeking a detailed report regarding the number of reported heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted in such cases.

Nithyananda, a popular guru that faces charges of abduction and rape in India, announced he was establishing the Republic of Kailaasa on an island off the coast of Ecuador, which he claims will be the “world’s greatest and purest Hindu nation,” with promises of free education, free healthcare, free food and the revival of the temple based lifestyle, In addition to facing charges in Gujarat over multiple allegations, French authorities are investigating Nithyananda after one of his French devotees complained the guru had cheated him out of $400,000.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Demolition of Alhambra Sikh temple stopped

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Sikh Gurdwara

ALHAMBRA, Calif. (Diya TV)  — A condo project that would have razed a long-standing Sikh Gurdwara in Alhambra, California was halted by that city’s planning commission after hours of public testimony. A building permit for the 28 unit condo project was initially approved, but a 5 to 4 vote stayed the development. Now Gurdwara leaders aim to purchase the land from the current owner.

Professor & political analyst Peter Mathews announced his candidacy for California’s 47th District Congressional seat. Mathews is running as a Progressive Democrat and aims to serve western Orange County cities like Garden Grove and Westminster.

A new NASSCOM report says India added 1,300 startups in 2019 alone, a factor in driving the country’s economic growth. US-India Partnership Forum Chairman & former Cisco CEO John Chambers believes this report demonstrates Digital India initiatives are working.

And US-based private equity fund Advent International acquired a majority stake in Bharat Serums and Vaccines, a leading biopharmaceutical company in India, valuing the company at $500 million.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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