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Congressional candidates polled on Indian-American affairs

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — More than 100 congressional candidates across the U.S. were administered a survey on a multitude of issues the Indian-American community cares about, including the H-1B visa program, Sikh Americans serving in the military, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and caste-based discrimination.

R.S. Jolly Consulting, the Washington D.C. advocacy and communications firm that conducted the “2016 Candidate Questionnaire on Indian-American Issues,” received 61 responses in total from members of all parties, according to Rajdeep Singh Jolly — the founder of the firm. Jolly published the responses unedited on Nov. 1.

“These survey results show that political candidates have diverse approaches to resolving issues of interest to the Indian-American community and that voters have important choices to make in this election,” Jolly said during an interview with NBC News“As Indian-Americans increase their civic engagement, I hope we continue to engage with candidates before and after elections to ensure that they are responsive and accountable to our community.”

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The Indian-American vote could serve very justly in some of the country’s most competitive races, according to Jolly, such as California’s 17th District in Silicon Valley, where incumbent Democrat Rep. Mike Honda faces challenger Democrat Ro Khanna. In that district, 52 percent of the population is Asian American, including a large population of Indian Americans.

Jolly said his study focused on districts where incumbents are members of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and also characterized the survey as a public service to create awareness among elected officials about Indian-American issues as well as to strengthen the civic engagement of the Indian-American community.

“My long-term goals are to deploy this questionnaire at the federal level every two years and expand into state and local elections,” Jolly said. “Asian Americans, including Indian Americans, have one of the lowest voter participation rates in the country, and if I can inspire more of them to vote, that will be the real victory.”

“One of the questions specifically relates to caste discrimination,” Jolly continued. “This is an extremely sensitive topic for many Indians, but it is something that needs to be brought out of the shadows and addressed.”

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US sends aid, and bans travel from India

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US ends aid, bans travel from India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of control in India. And now the U.S. is instituting a travel ban.  It goes into effect on May 4 but won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Meanwhile foreign aid is flowing into India from places like Israel, America, and Germany.

Sikh’s in Indianapolis held a memorial service to remember the victims of the Fed Ex facility shooting last month. Four of the people who died were from the Sikh community.  Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, yet. It’s unclear if the shooter, a former employee at the facility, was targeting Sikhs. There are a high number of Sikhs, immigrants and refugees who work in the facility.

And mega stars from the Indian diaspora raised more than 3 million dollars for Covid-19 relief in India.  Jay Shetty, Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, and Jay Sean. The virtual event was called help India Breathe and aired on Diya TV. The funds are going to three major areas of relief on the ground including food, direct cash transfers to families, and makeshift hospitals.

You can watch the fundraiser and still continue to donate:

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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American Coronavirus aid arrives in India

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American Covid-19 aid arrives in India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — American aid is finally starting to arrive in Covid-19 battered India as vaccination sites run out of shots and thousands of people gasp for air. A U.S. military transport plane delivered more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits, and other supplies. The country has been reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases of Covid infections every day for the past week.

After seven hours of public comment and testimony from hundreds of people on whether caste should be added to the county’s non-discrimination policy, the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission deferred their vote pending futher testimony and likely another public hearing. Equality Labs and the Hindu American Foundation each made presentations for and against this potential new category at the hearing, that was broadcast exclusively on Diya TV.
Watch the full event here:

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history during President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress just by taking their seats — marking the first time two women would be sitting behind the President.  Biden’s Indian American chief speech writer Vinay Reddy wrote the president’s address, adding to the historic evening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — No end in sight to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis as the number of new virus cases in the country shatter records. India added nearly 400 thousand new cases on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, boosting the country’s death toll to more than 200 thousand. US officials have urged Americans to leave the country because of the deteriorating conditions.

Several members of the Dalit community and their supporters are addressing the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission to discuss their experiences with caste discrimination. They want the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make caste a legally protected category against discrimination like race, age, gender and sexual orientation. Equality Labs is pushing this agenda but critics say it is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu.

And the Senate overwhelmingly passed an Asian Hate crimes bill and created a new position at the Justice Department to fast track reviews of potential Covid-19 related hate crimes. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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