California 17 Election Results:
Incumbent Congressman Ro Khanna received 46,657 votes or 65,1% of the votes cast in CA17 district in yesterday's primary elections. His main challenger Ritesh Tandon trailed far behind with 17,337 votes or 24.2% of all votes cast, according to New York Times.
|California 17th Congressional District Results. Source: New York Times|
Khanna thanked his supporters in a tweet yesterday after "beating Ritesh Tandon who ran on Islamophobia and right wing nationalism in India".
|Congressman Ro Khanna with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill|
Khanna Rejects Hindutva:
|L to R: Ro Khanna, Riaz Haq|
Congressman Ro Khanna has received support from Pakistani-American community for his courageous and principled stand on issues affecting South Asia. He regularly attends community events organized by Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley. I met him at a dinner hosted at the house of a Pakistani-American family that owns local Mirchi restaurant in Fremont. He assured the community he would continue to work to address issues such as Islamophobia that affect Muslims in America.
Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has dealt a heavy defeat to his pro-Modi challenger Ritesh Tandon in California primary elections. Khanna has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.
South Asia Investor Review
Imran Khan in Washington
Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir
Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World
Hinduization of India
Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric
India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan
Riaz Haq Youtube Channel
VPOS Youtube Channel
Violence in #India Threatens Its Global Ambitions. #Indian Officials said on condition of anonymity that they're on the defensive when foreign dignitaries arrive in #Delhi. #pogrom #Islamophobia #Modi #AmitShah #BJP #Hindutva https://nyti.ms/2xfLAq1
Much of the world remained quiet, or cautious, in recent months as India began locking up hundreds of opposition politicians and activists without charge across the country. Business executives say they are too afraid to speak out about shortcomings in the government’s economic strategy. The press complains of government intimidation.
Still, there was President Trump last week, embracing Mr. Modi in New Delhi, where streets were dotted with posters declaring the “world’s oldest democracy meets the world’s largest democracy.”
But as the leaders celebrated each other in India’s capital, Hindu mobs began going after Muslim protesters in neighborhoods just a few miles away while the police looked on or joined in. And it was those images — the return of sectarian violence on the streets, not the carefully crafted show of international partnership — that set the tone for India on the world stage over the past week.
On Wednesday, Freedom House, a nonpartisan democracy advocacy organization, flagged India as a major concern.
“The Indian government has taken its Hindu nationalist agenda to a new level with a succession of policies,” the group said, “threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia and the world.”
In a rare move, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights filed a petition in India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday to challenge a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims. Some of India’s closest partners have begun criticizing its treatment of Muslims and migrants, with condemnations coming in from Iran, the United States, Bangladesh and elsewhere.
“If India loses that secular, democratic identity then it loses what makes it different than other countries in Asia. We are all watching the riots in Delhi and worry they are going down a dangerous road that makes it harder for us to be a strong advocate for India,” said Representative Ami Bera, a California Democrat who is the longest-serving Indian-American in Congress.
In private conversations, diplomats are worried that the rhetoric coming from Mr. Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party is creating an environment that could lead to more violence. They point out that B.J.P. members have been labeling protesters and opposition supporters as terrorists who were supported by Pakistan. One minister led crowds in chants of “shoot the traitors!”
One area where international officials believe that India may be particularly hurting itself is in its campaign to be granted a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council along with other nuclear powers. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several diplomats, including some from countries that have publicly pushed for an Indian seat on the Security Council, say that their governments are now reluctant to push the issue after India’s domestic unrest has laid bare the effects of Hindu nationalism there.
During his first campaign for prime minister in 2014, Mr. Modi downplayed his Hindu agenda. His first term was marked by an energetic foreign policy and alliance building. Domestically, he focused on development and economic reforms. He promoted himself as a globalizer and unifier, friends with everyone: the Israelis and Palestinians, the Russians and the Americans.
After winning a second term last year, Mr. Modi’s government prioritized issues that appealed to its Hindu-nationalist base, and the prime minister himself talked less about economic reform.
#Trump is enabling #Modi’s #Islamophobia in #India . But so are many #Indian #Americans . It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity.
The violence was spurred by different perspectives: nationalists supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and anti-CAA protesters. The CAA was passed in December, granting a track to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi backgrounds. The stated goal was to protect refugees coming from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That is, refugees who are not Muslim. Muslim identities were conveniently left out of the amendment, but these three countries are Muslim majority nations. These same Muslim identities are also some of the most persecuted in the world, notably the Rohingya, who are fleeing to Bangladesh following ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not helped matters very much, brashly throwing around anti-Muslim rhetoric. From potentially gaslighting millions of citizens, assuring them of no religious bias, to revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, another Muslim-majority state, Modi is clearly promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda. He, like Trump, is also the victor in an election campaign that has used fearmongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric to consolidate support.
Modi's and Trump’s kinship makes sense in this context. During a Houston rally in the fall, Modi said he supports Trump's efforts to "Make America Great Again." Trump and Modi pledged to support each other's efforts to “protect innocent civilians from radical Islamic terrorism.” From enacting a “Muslim ban” during his first days in office to speech that far too often denigrates minorities, Trump has encouraged the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment that dovetails with the Islamophobic atmosphere in India right now — and indeed is increasingly spreading around the world.
The consequences of this atmosphere can be seen in the language used by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which threatens to denaturalize Muslims across the country. As Ravi Kishan, a prominent member of Parliament and supporter of the CAA, said recently, “India has always been a Hindu nation.”
As a first-generation, Indian American immigrant myself, I watch what is happening both in my home and the homes of many of my family members with frustration — and yet the Indian diaspora remains largely silent. Where is the outrage? I recognize the struggle and the fear of appearing “too American” or “too Westernized.” And I recognize the desire to want to connect with our homeland and its heritage. We, as immigrants, hold a double identity that we constantly battle to balance.
It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity. We need to stand in solidarity with those working for the betterment of India. We must call out those who don’t dare decry Modi’s actions, those who are so easily seduced by Trump’s saccharine tweets in Hindi; tweets which ignore the crippling afflictions in India. We cannot let Trump’s deceptive techniques fool us into believing he has our interests at heart, as he has apparently fooled both Indians and Indian American immigrants alike.
Indian American immigrants might rather avoid this messy topic. But we cannot settle for an authoritarian government — neither in America nor in India. We must confront the discomfort on social media and in WhatsApp chats. If we sit idly by, we are complicit.
The heart of India is burning. Pointing out the flaws is the only path toward a better India — an India we can all be proud of.
How #Delhi’s Police Turned Against #Muslims. “Even if we kill you, nothing will happen to us.” #India #pogrom #BJP #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia #muslimgenocide
A police commander said that as the violence erupted — at that point mostly by Hindu mobs — officers in the affected areas were ordered to deposit their guns at the station houses. Several officers during the violence were later overheard by New York Times journalists yelling to one another that they had only sticks and that they needed guns to confront the growing mobs. Some researchers accuse the police force of deliberately putting too few officers on the streets, with inadequate firepower, as the violence morphed from clashes between rival protesters into targeted killings of Muslims.
Two thirds of the more than 50 people who were killed and have been identified were Muslim. Human rights activists are calling it an organized massacre.
Though India’s population is 14 percent Muslim and New Delhi’s is 13 percent, the total Muslim representation on the Delhi police force is less than 2 percent.
Kaushar Ali, a house painter, was trying to get home when he ran into a battle.
Hindu and Muslim mobs were hurling rocks at each other, blocking a street he needed to cross to get to his children. Mr. Ali, who is Muslim, said that he turned to some police officers for help. That was his mistake.
The officers threw him onto the ground, he said, and cracked him on the head. They started beating him and several other Muslims. As the men lay bleeding, begging for mercy — one of them died two days later from internal injuries — the officers laughed, jabbed them with their sticks and made them sing the national anthem. That abuse, on Feb. 24, was captured on video.
“The police were toying with us,” Mr. Ali said. He recalled them saying, “Even if we kill you, nothing will happen to us.”
So far, they have been right.
India has suffered its worst sectarian bloodshed in years, in what many here see as the inevitable result of Hindu extremism that has flourished under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His party has embraced a militant brand of Hindu nationalism and its leaders have openly vilified Indian Muslims. In recent months Mr. Modi has presided over a raft of policies widely seen as anti-Muslim, such as erasing the statehood of what had been India’s only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir.
Now, more evidence is emerging that the Delhi police, who are under the direct command of Mr. Modi’s government and have very few Muslim officers, concertedly moved against Muslims and at times actively helped the Hindu mobs that rampaged in New Delhi in late February, burning down Muslim homes and targeting Muslim families.
#Coronavirus outbreak from #Nizamuddin mosque is being used by #Indian media to blame #Muslims for spreading the virus. “Corona Jihad” is trending on Twitter. This comes in the wake of recent #pogrom that killed many Muslims in #Delhi. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/india-coronavirus-cases-rise-amid-fears-true-figure-much-higher
The jump in number of cases was linked to an annual two-day convention of the Muslim sect Tablighi Jamaat on 13 March, for which about 3,500 people gathered from all over the country and abroad in the south Delhi neighbourhood of Nizamuddin. Almost 2,000 stayed in the area for days afterwards, and the area has become the coronavirus hotspot of India.
The outbreak from the Nizamuddin mosque gathering also inflamed religious tensions in a city still reeling from communal riots last month that took 50 lives, with Hindu mobs rampaging through the streets attacking Muslims in their homes.
Across Indian media and social networks, Muslims were blamed for spreading the virus while “Corona Jihad” began to trend on Twitter.
The gathering also appeared to trigger a spread of the virus across numerous states from Kashmir to West Bengal by those who returned home afterwards. So far, 10 people who attended the event have died while 1,800 people have been sent to nine hospitals and quarantine centres across the country.
However, despite the jump in number of cases this week, the Indian government insists there is still no community transmission and that cases have been either from those who travelled abroad or in localised incidents. Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the health ministry, told reporters: “Nowhere have we said that there is a community transmission. We are still in a local transmission in this country.”
Raman R Gangakhedkar, the head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), also insisted there was “no reason to panic at the moment”. Nonetheless, the ICMR conceded last month that community transmission was “inevitable” in India.
“Until we see a significant number of cases to indicate community transmission, let us not over interpret things,” said Gangakhedkar.
Doctors in hospitals across India said the lack of proper protective equipment available for medical staff, including basic masks, meant that patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms were being turned away. Doctors in Kolkata described how they were made to wear plastic raincoats to examine possible coronavirus patients, while a doctor in a Delhi hospital resorted to wearing a motorcycle helmet to cover his face.
One junior doctor working in a Kolkata hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated, described how “for over a week, we came in close contact with suspected corona patients without proper protective gear … We all are left at the mercy of God.”
The doctor also cast aspersions on the claim that the disease was not already spreading within impoverished communities.
“Every day thousands of people gather here, seeking treatment for many infectious diseases. Last week, I noticed, hundreds of people, with many coughing, having fever and breathing problems stood on queue waiting for their turn to be examined by us,” he said.
First #Arab world, now #Canada saying enough is enough to #Muslim-hating overseas #Indians. A firm in Canada ended ties with an Indian over his #Islamophobic tweet. But little has changed in #India. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #Modi #BJP https://theprint.in/opinion/pov/arab-world-canada-muslim-hating-overseas-indians-islamophobia/416758/ via @ThePrintIndia
For the past few years, Islamophobia and hate against Muslims have grown at an unprecedented rate in India without any consequences. And like most things Indian, this bigotry has also gone international. But while bigots in India have enjoyed a free run with direct and indirect support of members in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and even Narendra Modi government, the situation for bigoted Indians living abroad, such as in the Gulf and now Canada, has taken a different turn.
After several incidents of Indian expatriates in the Gulf countries being called out for their Islamophobic tirade on social media and getting sacked by their employers, it was Canada’s turn to take down such hate.
Ravi Hooda, a real estate agent based in Ontario, was angered by Brampton mayor Patrick Brown’s tweet over exemptions given in the city’s noise bylaws to allow azaan (call to prayer).
Our noise by law originally passed in 1984 only included an exemption for Church bells. It will now include all faiths within the permitted hours & decibel levels. The Muslim community can proceed with the sunset azan because it’s 2020 & we treat all faiths equally. #Ramadan pic.twitter.com/WGPmf8fA5b
— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) April 30, 2020
“What’s next? Separate lanes for camel & goat riders, allowing the slaughter of animals at home in the name of sacrifice, bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the piece fools for votes,” he tweeted in reply.
It was lost on the Islamophobe that the exemption was earlier limited to church bells and was now being extended to all faiths. Perhaps, he also forgot that he was in Canada, and not in India, where such remarks draw thousands of likes and retweets. But he soon learnt his lesson.
Hooda, who later deleted his tweet, was called out by several Twitter users, including Canada’s Anti-Hate Network, for his vile comments. The real estate company he was associated with terminated his services. He has also been removed as the School Council Chair by the Macville Public School.
This follows the recent trend seen in the Gulf countries where several Indian expatriates have been fired for their Islamophobic posts targeting Muslims for the spread of Covid-19.
While Canada has won praise for its swift action against Islamophobia, things back home are not that great with hate mongers having a field day — despite several Gulf nations being vocal about it and asking the Modi government to take action.
Over the past few years, hate and communal polarisation, specifically targeted at the Muslim community, has emerged as a low-cost election winning formula for India’s political class. With already existing deep chasms of insecurity and communal divide, it takes no more than a dog whistle to act as communal kindling.
Indian social media, especially since the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, has seen a steady rise in hate targeted at Muslims, blaming them for almost every evil besetting the country.
The factual accuracy, and history, of hate mongers may be as bad as their logic, but they all manage to achieve the intended result – violence against Muslims.
If it passes muster in the homeland, if there are no repercussions here, why not replicate it elsewhere — or so goes the belief. This bigotry is so normalised that many Indians working and living in the Gulf countries, a predominantly Muslim majority region, see no problem in spreading this vitriol.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took India to task on Thursday for calling Pakistan “the epicentre of terrorism”, saying India “demonises the people of Pakistan” to hide its Hindu-supremacist ideas.
The FM’s comments came minutes after his Indian counterpart had accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.
In his speech at the Security Council, the Indian minister had said that “India faced the horrors of cross-border terrorism long before the world took serious note of it” and has “fought terrorism resolutely, bravely and with a zero-tolerance approach".
Bilawal hit back at the comments saying “I am the foreign minister of Pakistan and Pakistan’s foreign minister is a victim of terrorism as the son of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif when he was chief minister of Punjab, his home minister was assassinated by a terrorist. Political parties, civil society, the average people in Pakistan across the board have been the victims of perpetrators of terrorism.”
“We have lost far more lives to terrorism than India has,” he added questioning why Pakistan would ever want to perpetuate terrorism and make “our own people suffer”.
“Unfortunately, India has been playing in that space […] where it is very easy to say ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’ together and get the world to agree and they very skilfully blur this line where people like myself are associated with terrorists rather than those that have been and to this day are fighting terrorism,” he continued.
The FM then went on to say that New Delhi perpetuated this narrative not just against India but also Muslims in that country. “We are terrorists whether we’re Muslims in Pakistan and we’re terrorists whether we’re Muslims in India.”
“Osama bin Laden is dead,” said Bilawal, “but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the prime minister of India”.
“He [Narendra Modi] was banned from entering this country [the United States],” he continued, “these are the prime minister and foreign minister of the RSS [a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation]”.
“The RSS draws its inspiration from Hitler’s SS [the Nazi Party’s combat branch, Schutzstaffel],” Bilawal added.
The FM went on to point out the irony in the inauguration of Gandhi’s bust at UN headquarters by the Indian FM and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “If the FM of India was being honest, then he knows as well as I, that the RSS does not believe in Gandhi, in his ideology. They do not see this individual as the founder of India, they hero-worship the terrorist that assassinated Gandhi.”
“They are not even attempting to wash the blood of the people of Gujarat off their hands,” said Bilawal, lamenting that the “Butcher of Gujarat” was now the “Butcher of Kashmir”.
“For their electoral campaign, Prime Minister Modi’s government has used their authority to pardon the men who perpetuated rape against Muslims in Gujarat. Those terrorists were freed by the prime minister of India,” said Bilawal.
“In order to perpetuate their politics of hate, their transition from a secular India to a Hindu supremacist India, this narrative is very important,” said Bilawal, claiming Pakistan had “proof” that Modi’s government had facilitated a terrorist attack in Pakistan.
The minister was referring to the “irrefutable evidence” Pakistan had of the involvement of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the blast at Johar Town, Lahore last year as three terrorists had been arrested.
#SiliconValley's #Indian-#American Congressman Ro Khanna talks of the threat of growing #Hindu nationalism. Khanna: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva" #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP
Khanna said that, having spent much of his career in Northern California's Silicon Valley, he has been immersed in Indian American issues for years. The rising tide of Hindu nationalism is on the forefront of the diaspora’s collective consciousness; from professional spheres to college campuses, reports of Islamophobia and casteism abound in South Asian spaces.
Khanna hasn’t shied away from such conversations, and his vocalness has sparked outrage from right-wing Indian Americans. In 2019, 230 Hindu and Indian American entities wrote letter criticizing Khanna for denouncing Hindu nationalism (also known as Hindutva) and for advocating religious equality on the subcontinent.
“It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians,” Khanna tweeted at the time.
They also criticized Khanna for joining the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and for speaking out against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revoking the state of Kashmir’s autonomy.
“Of course, we have to fulfill the strategic partnership and we have to respect the democratically elected leadership in India,” Khanna told NBC News. “I will work to strengthen that while also upholding these human rights values.”
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