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South Asian legal minds gather to celebrate 15th annual SABA conference in New York City

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NEW YORK (Diya TV) — The conference and perhaps the largest gathering of South Asian legal minds in America aka the 15th annual SABA (South Asian Bar Association) of North America kicked off in the heart of the New York city. The immediate past president, Rishi Bagga noted the importance of hosting this conference in the Big Apple. “We now live in a time when legal protections for immigrants are under attack; when nativist sentiments and rhetoric have sought to divide those who were born here from those who were not; at a time when our community’s lawyers must ‘Carry the Torch’ for the South Asian immigrant community and other immigrant communities,” he said. “And a time when SABA must continue to work to ensure greater diversity and inclusion with the legal profession at large.”

 Outgoing President of SABA Rishi Bagga, Rep. Grace Meng and the incoming President of Sundeep Sandhu at the opening night reception

Outgoing President of SABA Rishi Bagga, Rep. Grace Meng and the incoming President of Sundeep Sandhu at the opening night reception

With all the recent events of immigrant families being separated, this year’s conference didn’t skip a beat jumping right into all the issues that matter to this organization. This year’s panels featured personal insights from some of the brightest minds in the South Asian American legal community including judges, law firm leaders, in-house counsel, and lawyers making waves inside and outside the profession. This year we were fortunate to welcome a large number of South Asian judges including the Hon. Cathy Bissoon, Hon. Sanket Bulsara, Hon. Raj Chatterjee, Hon. Raja Rajeswari and Hon. Sri Srinivasan.

The programming focused on ways South Asian attorneys could break the current boundaries within the legal profession. For example, VP and US General Counsel for McDonald’s Corporation, Mahrukh Hussain joined a panel of women general counsels to discuss the paths they chose and challenges they faced in their careers. In addition, a plenary panel focused on the pros, cons and consequences of choosing a life in the public eye featured Ravi Bhalla, Mayor of Hoboken; Sudha Setty, Dean, Western New England School of Law; Amit Agarwal, Solicitor General, State of Florida; Sayu Bhojwani, President, New American Leaders Project; and Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York

The Conference closed with a gala featuring keynote speaker Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) who reminded SABA members that one continually has the choice “to accept things as they are or take responsibility for changing them.” Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and longtime SABA member was also a featured speaker and echoed the comments of Sen. Booker, encouraging SABA members to continue “joining together in solidarity … by taking the effort to speak, march, vote or do other things necessary to fight for what they believe in.”

The SABA Foundation, the charitable arm of SABA, also held its Annual Benefit during the Conference. The SABA Foundation identifies and supports organizations that provide critical services to the most vulnerable members of the South Asian Community and awarded grants to Manavi, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), Kiran, Inc., Narika and the Innovation Law Lab. SABA Foundation also honored comedian and activist, Hari Kondabolu, with its first ‘Hero Award’ for his work raising awareness and improving the lives of South Asians in North America.

As always this conference also marked the change in leadership, with a swearing in ceremony for a new President and Executive Committee. SABA’s new President, Sundeep Sandhu, emphasized the role the organization will continue to play in improving the general welfare of the South Asian community in North America. “Issues with respect to diversity and inclusion, civil rights and access to justice have never been more prevalent than they are today and SABA members have been unwavering in their dedication to addressing these issues,” Sandhu stated. “We see this not only with the leadership of our 26 chapters but through the individual actions of our 8,000 strong membership, like our members who attended the nationwide protests held against the current administration’s policy on separating migrant families – a policy that SABA has firmly stood against.”

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Indian American Sikh man in New York City killed execution-style

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NYC Sikh man killed execution-style | Diya TV News

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Authorities are searching for the person who shot and killed a Sikh man execution-style in New York City. Witnesses say 31-year-old Indian American Satnam Singh was sitting in a jeep near his home at the time.
Investigators say the motive is unclear. They all happened in the South Ozone Park neighborhood, which is next to Richmond Hill where two Sikh men had been assaulted in April in what police classified as hate crimes.

At least 51 people are dead after dozens were found inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, in a suspected case of human smuggling. Investigators say some of the victims were teenagers. Most of the people found were Mexican citizens. 16 people were taken to the hospital for treatment. Three people are now into custody in connection to this case.

Syracuse just named Bakeer Ganesharatnam as its new head women’s volleyball coach. The Sri Lankan American becomes the 7th head coach in the program’s history.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Biden, Modi among world leaders at G7 summit

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Biden, Modi among world leaders at G7 summit | Diya TV News

BERLIN (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the G7 Summit in Germany with other world leaders. Modi said his country’s dedication to climate commitments is evident from its performance. The PM also said they’ve achieved the target of 40 percent energy capacity from non-fossil sources nine years ahead of track. Modi touted the fact that even though 17 percent of the world’s population resides in India, its contribution of global carbon emissions is only 5 percent.

White House director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Dr. Rahul Gupta was this year’s keynote speaker at the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin annual convention. Gupta says he’s collaborating with the group to improve health, security, and the drug overdose epidemic. India’s ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu was also a speaker there and complimented the role of Indian American doctors during Covid-19.

Authorities say Muslim extremists in the Maldives stormed a yoga event organized by the Indian high commission which is the embassy.  More than 150 people, including diplomats and government officers, were taking part in an event celebrating International Day of Yoga. Earlier, the protesters brandished placards proclaiming that yoga was against the tenets of Islam.

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Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pushes resolution to declare India a country of particular concern

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WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who visited Pakistan on a non-state department sanctioned visit recently, has pushed along a resolution that would declare India as a country of particular concern in violation of religious freedom. This resolution has been in the works for 3 straight years, but ultimately nothing has materialized. This push forward by Omar represents another call to the Biden administration for India to be designated as a violator of religious freedom. Whether the resolution will go even further along is to be determined.

https://twitter.com/scroll_in/status/1540006265434374144

Recently, Omar visited Pakistan and spoke with high-ranking Pakistani officials, Prime Minister Imran Khan being chief among them. She also has a history of siding with Pakistan in the past, so this resolution does not come as a total surprise. 

The details of the resolution go over how India has allegedly targeted Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and other religious minorities and thus, direct human rights violations. This has been said to be an issue for the past few years as mentioned before, the resolution has been trying to be sent through to the president for 3 consecutive years. 

Omar gave insight into why she believes this resolution must be passed along and brought to President Biden’s attention:

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human rights violations against religious and cultural minorities…In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.”

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