Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna Defeats Pro-Modi Challenger

Congressman Ro Khanna has won 65% of all votes cast to deal a heavy defeat to pro-Modi candidate Ritesh Tandon in primary elections in California's 17th district that covers part of Silicon Valley. Khanna angered many of his Indian-American constituents last summer when he criticized Prime Minster Narendra Modi's Hindutva politics and joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus. 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.

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
Ritesh Tandon, an Indian-American technology entrepreneur, said Khanna "has turned his back on our allies all over the world, including the nation of my birth, India by siding with India’s enemies like Pakistan on key security issues”, according to Indica News.


Khanna Rejects Hindutva:

L to R: Ro Khanna, Riaz Haq
Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “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.”  On August 17, Khanna became the first Indian-American to join US Congress's Pakistan caucus headed by Democratic Congresswoman Shiela Jackson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana. Khanna's decision to join Pakistan caucus came after he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his July visit to Washington. After his July meeting with Khan Khanna tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."


Pakistani-American Support:

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.

Summary:

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.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

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

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
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.

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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.
Riaz Haq said…
#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.

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-enabling-modis-islamophobia-india-191500320.html

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.
Riaz Haq said…
#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.
Riaz Haq said…
#Harvard Alum #Hindutva Leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy:“All people are not equal. Muslims of India are not equal to others!” Showtime's 'Vice' Exposes #HumanRights Crisis as #Muslims Are Targeted in #India. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia https://www.thewrap.com/showtimes-vice-exposes-human-rights-crisis-as-muslims-are-targeted-in-india-exclusive-video/#.XoaPaAkHHkE.twitter

The second season of “Vice” Showtime is full of shocking global stories that will remind viewers there are still crises beyond the coronavirus. Some crises are compounded by it, too, which “Vice” correspondent Isobel Yeung explained to TheWrap by phone this week.

Episode 2 — which airs Sunday, April 5 — outlines an ongoing human rights crisis in India, where Muslims are treated like second-class citizens. Beyond looking at the building of detention camps for the Muslims targeted by the Indian government, Yeung sat down with Dr. Subramanian Swamy — a member of India’s parliament — to get the government’s rationale for it. That clip, exclusive to TheWrap, can be seen above.

“On this issue, the country is with us,” he told Yeung. “Most people like our hardline approach to solving pending problems.”

He went on to say that “where the Muslim population is large, there is always trouble,” which Yeung countered by pointing out that with 200 million Muslim residents, India has the second-largest Islamic population in the world. When Swamy stuck to his position, she told him his comments sounded “like hatred,” but he said he was being “kind.”

Once Yeung cited Article 14 of India’s constitution — “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India” — he told her she was misinterpreting it and, in fact, Muslims are “not in an equal category” to non-Muslims.

In a subsequent chat with TheWrap, Yeung expanded on what’s happened to Muslims in India since she went there to talk to Swamy. The country, she said, is on lockdown for three weeks due to the coronavirus, and while there are relatively low numbers of confirmed cases, that’s likely because of a lack of testing.

At the end of February, there were violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims that resulted in over 50 deaths, with the majority of casualties Muslim people who were targeted for their religion. There were hundreds of injuries and many Muslims remain missing. As a result of these riots, a lot of Muslims lost their belongings and housing, Yeung explained.

“And now the government has said that there is this national lockdown, this national emergency,” she continued. “so they don’t necessarily have anywhere to turn so they are definitely one of the populations that are definitely going to struggle through this.”
Riaz Haq 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.

Riaz Haq said…
#Indians Pissed off With #Racism and Police Brutality in the #US Don’t Care About the Same Issues in Their Own Country. They are the same ones practicing blissful silence when similar shit happens in #India. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Floyd - VICE https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/889g9k/why-indians-pissed-off-with-racism-and-police-brutality-in-the-us-dont-care-about-the-same-issues-in-their-own-country-muslim-casteism-violence-minority

By Shamani Joshi


“We have a deep-seated history of slavery, thousands of years of caste-based differentiation and several decades of violent Hindu-Muslim rivalry that aren’t easy to unlearn,” says Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist, social researcher and founder of Sangath, an organisation dedicated to child development and mental health in low-resource settings. “There’s still a lot of social engineering required to make our society more inclusive of its diversity. This has a direct impact on children’s views while growing up when their families, which might be biased (by historical context that is casteist or anti-Muslim), impose unacceptable and inhumane prejudice on impressionable minds.”

Over the weekend, I saw all my social media feeds flooded with illustrated quotes of Desmond Tutu that declared “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”, poignant protest signs that declared “I can’t breathe”, and the quintessential hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. These were all in solidarity against the incident that saw George Floyd, a black man, die after a police officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds—one which has sparked demonstrations against police brutality and racism around the world.

This outpouring of support resonating with a movement so geographically far away would have ordinarily been touching. Except, a lot of people are also kinda pissed off that some individuals who now claim to be infuriated by police brutality, systematic oppression and murder on the basis of arbitrary factors like skin colour, were the same ones practising blissful silence when similar shit went down in our own country. They’re the ones who feigned ignorance and apathy when critics pointed out that police forces in India target university students and Dalit rights activists. They stand in solidarity with an American-born movement against oppression while choosing to overlook the all too frequent religion-based violence and riots that have taken place in India.


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