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EXCLUSIVE: Sanders Campaign manager Faiz Shakir addresses Kashmir controversy

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Faiz Shakir

Ravi Kapur: Senator Sanders made some Remarks at the ISNA Event that really wrinkled a lot of Indian Americans in particular, many whom may have supported him in 2016 who believe in what he brings to the table but are upset about his potential India policy. Do you have any thoughts on that? Because that’s something that I hear about frequently. 

Faiz Shakir:  Well to understand Bernie Sanders as a person, who is of deep moral conviction about how he looks at foreign policy. And sometimes he’s going to speak hard truths to people. When he sees an Indian Prime Minister or an Israeli Prime Minister or a Pakistani Prime Minister who’s acting unjustly towards minority populations in their own countries, he’s going to say something about it irregardless of the politics. Now come tell me about politics when there’s a moral cause at stake. Are people being treated unfairly and unjustly? And I think in Bernie Sanders you have somebody who speaks with moral clarity to that issue. It’s one of the reasons I believe he’d be a transformational President. Not just for domestic policies, but in building international bonds with people all across the world who will see in this person “yeah, I might disagree with him, I might not see things the same way, but I know he’s a person of authenticity who’s coming to these issues with a high degree of honesty and a person of high conviction. So that’s how I feel about that. 

RK: With that being said Mr. Bloomberg mentioned India today about climate change and how he ducked the China question, whereas China’s 27 percent of CO2 emissions vs 7 percent for India, So i’m just trying to get where Bernie Sanders stands specifically with indian Americans. Because I talk to a lot of folks, Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs, and they feel disenfranchised from the Democratic party. And if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, are you going to lose people that 80%  voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. 

FS: You’re looking at a campaign that is seeking the support of Indian Americans and of people of communities that are not represented by our government right now. I would argue that despite the fact that Trump had a very large event at Houston that he does not represent or fight for the interests of immigrant populations here in America, including Indian Americans. And when you look at the future of the United States and the bond that it is creating with countries all over the world, I see a president who is very divisive, who only has relationships that are based off convenience or political benefit to him. It’s not based off of actual care, compassion, and understanding for people. No, it’s “If you can do something for you”. I don’t think that’s how we run foreign affairs, so I think it would be a mistake for a lot of these communities who are maybe saying “Donald Trump has said a nice thing about me”. It is worth a grain of salt. You look at the people that he throws out onto the streets, people that worked for him. Donald Trump has no loyalty to anybody. People who work for him, his Chief of Staff, his Defense Secretary, he runs them out because he has no loyalty to anyone. So it would be a mistake for any community, particularly the Indian American community to look at Donald Trump and say “He’s going to be an ally with me”. When push comes to shove he will push you off the train, he will not care about you. So if you’re looking for someone that really has a degree of compassion, some degree of character, some willingness to fight for people who are struggling, that’s Bernie Sanders. 

RK: Trump does these grand gestures like Howdy Modi, is Sanders going to do something similar?

FS: Of Course, we are even in the way that we’ve built this campaign with Congressman Ro Khanna as a Co-Chair of this campaign, we are working hard to bring people into it. So I hope that everyone will see and appreciate and understand this is a campaign that is working hard to create a bigger tent. 

RK: That being said, Congressman Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Indian American liberal Democrats have also said things that have alarmed Hindu Americans. 

FS: Like I said, if you’re looking for a President of the United States who you may disagree with, but you believe he’s honest with integrity and character, then you’re going to like Bernie Sanders. 

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Indian Americans jump into congressional races

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Indian Americans jump into congressional races | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The latest numbers show more Indian Americans than ever are running for Congress. In the last six years, nearly 80 candidates made it on the ballot, soaring far beyond numbers seen in past elections. Leading the wave are successful candidates from California, like Kamala Harris, who rose from a Senate seat to become vice president. Helping those numbers, Indians Americans are also one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country.  

Nisha Ramachandran is the new Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the first Indian American to serve in this role.  Ramachandran most recently managed her own consulting business focused on AAPI advocacy. She’ll be working closely with Congresswoman Judy Chu who chairs the group to further Asian American causes and initiatives. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the people of Telangana after the Kakatiya Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The PM also urged citizens to visit the temple which was built during the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Blinken begins India visit, Afghanistan top issue

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Blinken begins India visit, Afghanistan top issue | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — US secretary of state Antony Blinken begins his two-day India visit on Tuesday hoping to engage the nation on issues such as the Covid-19 response, human rights, and democracy. The American troop pullout in Afghanistan will also be a key issue. India is concerned about the implications of the withdrawal and the need for sustained pressure on Pakistan over issues like terror financing.

And India’s first medal at the Tokyo Olympics goes to Mirabai Chanu. She won silver in Women’s weight lifting. Chanu’s Olympic preparations were hindered by injuries and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic but she still beat the odds and is being praised back home.

Tesla may open a factory in India. But CEO Elon Musk says only if the cars receive a good response in that marketplace. The company has already been hiring talent in the country. But Musk also hinted at some downsides to opening overseas, citing India’s import duty tax is the highest in the world for a large country.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign

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Shrina Kurani announces CA congressional campaign | Diya TV News

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — Indian American Democrat Shrina Kurani is running for Congress in California’s 42nd district and is preparing to take on 15-year Republican incumbent Ken Calvert. Kurani is a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur and says she’s running to create more sustainable jobs in her community and to take on the status quo in Washington DC.

More than 30 interfaith organizations in the U.S. are urging the State Department to sanction India and designate it as a country of “particular concern”. Their resolution claims that the Indian government is promoting policies that lead to the persecution of religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Despite growing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in Japan, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony got underway. India is sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics with120 athletes competing across 85 events.  The country hopes to win medals for shooting, wrestling, boxing, archery and badminton.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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