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Former Civil Rights Division head Vanita Gupta criticizes Attorney General

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Vanita Gupta
Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta, the former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, criticized the work of the current attorney general during an interview this week.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Vanita Gupta, the former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama, criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ memorandum this week ordering a sweeping review of police reform activities of the Obama era.

Gupta expressed her disappointment during an interview with BuzzFeed News, and said that she was “not entirely surprised” by the decision.

Monday, attorney general Jeff Sessions called for an internal review of all investigations and consent decrees with troubled police departments initiated under Obama administration. He cited the federal government’s responsibility to manage the nation’s police departments as the reason. Gupta said that “the individual misdeeds of bad actors should not impugn” the work police officers perform “in keeping American communities safe.” The memo also mentions Sessions’ past comments including softening of the DOJ’s approach towards reform.

Gupta said that Sessions’ comments on the issue “pit civil rights against crime fighting” and expressed her concern about Baltimore and Chicago – where the negotiations between police and the Department of Justice are ongoing.

“It is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce civil rights laws,” Gupta said, adding that the reviews by the civil rights division are “not about looking at bad actors, it’s about identifying systematic problems.” According to the report, Baltimore Police Commissioner on Tuesday called the DOJ’s move as unnecessary and “without a whole lot of justification.”

“The AG talks about local control, and wanting to defer to local control, you have to wonder why there wasn’t an engagement with the commissioner in Baltimore,” Gupta said.

“In Chicago, where we spoke to hundreds of police, thousands of residents, and looked through hundreds of thousands of documents, if that does not yield a change, I think it will be incredibly disruptive,” she added.

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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