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HAF accuses Al Jazeera, Audrey Truschke & others of libel

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) responded to allegations of being a front organization for Hindu extremist groups by sending cease and desist notices to five organizations and individuals ranging from Qatari state-owned media network Al Jazeera to Rutgers-Newark University Associate Professor Audrey Truschke. 

The Washington DC-based Hindu advocacy organization in a statement alleged the plaintiffs exhibited “reckless disregard of the truth…fully meeting the definition of libel under US law.”

Al Jazeera reported in April 2021 that five ‘Hindu supremacist’ groups received a total of $833,000 in federal aid through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDLA), Disaster Assistance Loan (DAL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — with the majority going to HAF. 

Al Jazeera went on to link HAF to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist organization affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India, through HAF corporate officers, donors, and board members associated with RSS chapters in the United States.

Described by Al Jazeera as a group that “lobbies to deflect any criticism of Modi government’s policies on Capitol Hill,” HAF has long faced allegations from within the South Asian community of being a proxy for right wing Hindu groups.

Hindus for Human Rights co-founder Sunita Vishvanath was quoted saying the five Hindu groups were “sympathetic to the Hindu supremacist ideology and parent (sic) organisations continue to spread hatred in Hindu communities towards Muslims and Christians.” Vishvanath also received a cease and desist notice.

Professor Audrey Truschke, who is a frequent target of online criticism due to her views on South Asian history and politics, has also been a vocal critic of HAF, accusing the group of using intimidation and “acting on behalf of a foreign government that is silencing American voices at home.”

”HAF is highly visible and often subject to harassment and abuse,” said HAF’s Executive Director Suhag Shukla. In a statement, HAF said its “leadership strongly rejected insinuations of dual loyalty to India, associations with foreign organizations or Islamophobia, and expressed a determination to fight these accusations in US courts.” 

In addition to Al Jazeera, Truschke and Vishwanath, HAF also sent notices to Hindus for Human Rights co-founder Raju Rajgopal, Rasheed Ahmed of the Indian American Muslim Council, John Prabhudoss of the Federation of Indian American Christians, and Al Jazeera reporter Raqib Hameed Naik, demanding they retract their statements and issue apologies within 24 hours.

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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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