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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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Exclusive: Judges Srinivasan, Rao kickoff SABA virtual conference

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Srinivasan

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Diya TV is home to the South Asian Bar Association virtual conference this weekend, which got kicked off by perhaps the two most powerful Indian American lawyers in the nation: Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan & Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, both of whom serve in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the second most powerful court in the nation to only the Supreme Court. We’ll update you on their conversation and preview this weekend’s virtual gala featuring Stacy Abrams, Preet Bharara, Vanita Gupta, Ajit Pai and many others.

Meanwhile, Judges Srinivasan and Rao may get another Indian American colleague, as President Trump nominated Vijay Shanker to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Democratic Party announced they will be conducting their convention virtually from Milwaukee.

Indian American Jeremy Cooney is leading in the race for New York State’s 56th Senate District, with absentee ballots still to be factored in.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Satellite images show larger Chinese presence at Indian border

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Satellite images

LADAKH, India (Diya TV)  — While the ongoing fracas between India and China has not led to all-out war yet, satellite images indicate China is sending a larger group of troops and building infrastructure in Galwan Valley, site of that vicious clash that killed 20 Indian troops, and a reported 43 Chinese soldiers. It was the first loss of life in battle for the Chinese in more than 40 years. U.S. intelligence decreed China instigated the battle and India says China has been staffing up in the area since May. Following the release of the satellite images, China says India is to blame.

The U.S. is regressing in its battle against COVID-19, setting a new single day record for coronavirus cases at more than 37,000. The virus has infected nearly 10 million people globally, a quarter of that total in the U.S. The death toll now stands at 125,000 in the United States, with Florida, Texas, Arizona and California seeing major increases.

Pakistani-American Qasim Rashid advanced in the Democratic primary in Virginia’s First Congressional District. ​He’ll take on longtime incumbent Republican Congressman Robert Wittman in the fall.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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As critics fume, Modi says India was not breached by China

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Modi

NEW DELHI (Diya TV)  — During an all-party political leaders meeting, Indian Prime Minister Modi told the group China did not breach Indian territory in Ladakh, nor was any Indian Army border post captured. Modi emphasized India will protect Galwan Valley, the region where the clash killing 20 Indian soldiers and a reported 43 Chinese soldiers took place. But Modi’s critics say the situation was an intelligence failure and many want Modi to strike back with force. Meanwhile, in a statement, the Chinese Government pinned the conflict on India and is laying claim to the entire valley region.

India was elected as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council for a 2-year term starting next year, receiving 184 out of 192 valid votes.

And in a wild Friday night surprise, the Justice Department said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York would be stepping down, to be replaced by Jay Clayton, the current Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. But in a statement, Berman said he’s not leaving until Congress confirms someone & his investigations, including into folks allied with President Trump, will continue.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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