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Biden’s solidarity message on 10th anniversary of Wisconsin gurdwara attack

On the tenth anniversary of the attack on the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, US President Joe Biden on Friday called for strict measures to reduce gun violence and defeat domestic terrorism and hate in all its forms, including the poison of white supremacy.

Mourning the loss of lives in the attack, Biden said, “The Oak Creek shooting was the deadliest attack on Sikh Americans in our nation’s history. Tragically, attacks on our nation’s houses of worship have only become more common over the past decade. It is up to all of us to deny this hate-safe harbour.”

 According to the official statement, Biden said that when generations of Sikh-Americans in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, constructed their own place of worship after years of renting local halls, it was a sacred place of their own and a connection shared with the broader community.

“That sense of peace and belonging was shattered on the morning of August 5, 2012, when a white supremacist wielding a semiautomatic handgun arrived at the Gurdwara and began shooting.”

The gunman murdered six people and wounded four that day, as well as another victim who survived his wounds only to succumb to them years later.

“Jill and I know that days like today bring back the pain like it happened yesterday, and we mourn with the victims’ families, the survivors, and the community devastated by this heinous act,” the US President said.

He further said that “Oak Creek has shown us the way. After the attack, the Sikh community returned to their Gurdwara and insisted on cleaning it themselves.”

“The son of one of the victims became the first Sikh in American history to testify before Congress, successfully calling for the federal government to track hate crimes against Sikhs and other minority groups,” US President added.

Every year, the congregation now hosts an annual memorial run to honour the victims. The event bears the words Charhdi Kala, meaning “eternal optimism.”

Biden said, “Fueled by that spirit of eternal optimism, we must continue to take steps now to reduce gun violence and keep our fellow Americans safe.”

Biden said that no one should fear for their life when they bow their head in prayer or go about their lives in America.

He said, “We must continue to take steps now to reduce gun violence and keep our fellow Americans safe. We must do more to protect places of worship, and defeat domestic terrorism and hate in all its forms, including the poison of white supremacy.”

“We must ban assault weapons–used in many mass shootings at houses of worship and other sites across the country–as well as high-capacity magazines. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to do just that,” Biden added.

The US President said that to stand in defence of religious freedom, we must all stand together to ban the weapons that terrorize congregations around our country. (ANI)

ALSO READ: ‘India stands by its CAA commitment’: Doval assures Afghan sikhs

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Asia News Community India News

GALLERY: Kargil Vijay Diwas in Kashmir

Kashmiris celebrate “Kargil Vijay Diwas” with various activities. Army soldiers along with locals take part in “Kargil Vijay Diwas Tiranga boat” rally in River Jhelum. To commemorate the 23rd ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’, a host of events were organised under the aegis of Northern Command, culminating into the final event on 26th July 2022. Feroz Ahmed Khan, Chief Executive Counsellor Kargil was the Chief Guest and Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM, GOC-in-C, Northern Command was the Chief Host for the major event. A picture story.

PIC: Umar Ganie/APH IMAGES/ASIAN LITE

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-Top News Asia News Community

Ethnic tensions rise in Pakistan after Sindhi youth murder

Bilal Kaka, a Sindhi youth was shot dead by Pathans at a restaurant over a food bill during Eid-ul-Azah, reports Asian Lite News

Shops and hotels, owned by Pashtuns, were closed by the Sindhis as the ethnic tensions flared up in several districts in Sindh province following the killing of 35-year-old Bilal Kaka at a hotel in Hyderabad a couple of days ago, media reports said.

Bilal Kaka, a Sindhi youth was shot dead by Pathans at a restaurant over a food bill during Eid-ul-Azah. According to the media reports, the hotel owners allegedly shot dead Bilal Kaka and injured his two friends after a dispute over a food bill at the Super Salateen Hotel near Wadhu Wah near Hyderabad bypass – one of the most popular areas in Hyderabad.

In the aftermath of the killing, there were massive protests registered across the Sindh province. The leaders from across the political spectrum unanimously called for calm, urging people not to let rogue elements disturb the social harmony of the province, reported Dawn.

Several violent incidents were reported in the province on Thursday. Several political parties, including JI, MQM-Pakistan, Awami National Party, and nationalist leaders Jalal Mehmood Shah and Ayaz Latif Palijo issued statements, urging both Sindhis and Pashtuns — the two groups at the heart of these tensions — to demonstrate restraint.

The political parties also demanded the government to take prompt action to defuse the tensions.

According to the local media, illegal Afghan residents are involved in narcotics and money lending at a heavy rate of interest. It further noted that they were also involved in killing the Sindhi youths.

Local media further pointed out that police authorities and others in law-enforcement departments do not act against such elements.

They said Balal Kaka’s case is not just one isolated case but it is the result of an influx of outsiders into Sindh. They said peaceful political movements are the only way out to get rid of outsiders’ influx into Sindh.

Meanwhile, Sindh United Party Chairman and Convener of Sindh Action Committee, Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said that the law-and-order problem in Sindh is increasing because of the Afghans living in Sindh and others coming to Sindh from elsewhere.

Hundreds of protesters from the Kaka tribe took to the national highway in Sindh province to protest against the killing of Balal Kaka.

Rallies were held at Qambar, Jacobabad, Nawabashah, Tando Mohammad Khan, Halan, and at Kariyo Ghunoor by different groups including nationalist Jiye Sindh Quami Mahaz and Awami Tehreek, Sindh Tarqui Pasand’s Students’ Federation and Sindh United Party.

Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) has announced demonstrations across Sindh Friday on July 15 demanding the ouster of outsiders in Sindh, reported local media.

JSQM chairman said that Afghans staying in Sindh are the major reason for ruining Sindh.

Taking a dig at authorities, he said that the Afghans also seem to have got licences now to kill Sindhi youth in Karachi and Hyderabad. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Ethnic violence rages in Pakistan

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Community India News

Kashmiri Muslims participate in marriage ceremony of Kashmiri Pandit woman

Another local Altaf Ahmad said that they have been living and brought up together in the neighbourhood and it was their duty to participate in Hindu woman’ marriage ceremony…reports Asian Lite News

In yet another example of centuries old tradition and communal harmony, Kashmiri Muslims participated in marriage ceremony of a Kashmiri Pandit woman in Lar village of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

Locals said that the Muslim neighbours participated in the marriage ceremony of Meenu Kumari daughter of Late Pandit Mohan Lal in Lar village.

They said that they participated in every ritual of the marriage ceremony of pandit woman and also eat together, while being with their Pandit brethren for the last four days.

“This is an example of age old tradition and communal harmony under which both Muslim and Pandit families have been living together, even as there have been unfavourable conditions many times,” the locals said.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, district president Ganderbal Sanatham Dharam Sabha, Badrinath Bhat said that the function was going on for the last four days here and in these four days, Muslim neighbours including men and women participated in every ritual.

He said that Muslim men and women participated in mehandiraat, other rituals including singing and dancing, which gives a clear message that how Muslims and Hindus have been living in their neighbourhood in the Kashmir Valley.

“We have been living together for years now and we have participating in each other’s functions, be it marriage, someone’s death or any other function, we have been together. Recently some of our Muslim brothers went for Haj pilgrimage, we also went to see them off like their Muslim relatives did,” he said.

Meanwhile, another local Altaf Ahmad said that they have been living and brought up together in the neighbourhood and it was their duty to participate in Hindu woman’ marriage ceremony.

He said that this a centuries old bond between Hindus and Muslims here and it will not be broken by any mischievous element. “We have been living together and we will continue to do so and will support and love each other in every thick and thin,” he said.

Muslim women were seeing welcoming the groom and also participated in singing and dancing including “Kashmiri Wanwun” along with Pandit woman during the marriage ceremony—(KNO)

ALSO READ-Kashmiri student bags $70K scholarship to study in Qatar

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Community Europe India News

Annual General Assembly of Hindu Forum of Europe held in Spain

The two-day Annual General Assembly of Hindu Forum of Europe was successfully held at Campus Phi, Caceres in Spain recently.

National Hindu representatives from different countries including Hindu Federation of Spain, Hindu Forum of Sweden, Hindu Forum of Italy, Hindu of Forum of Belgium, and Hindu Forum of Germany were in attendance, besides Jain Temple Antwerp, Hinduisa Italy, Hindu Matters in Britain and Sanskruti Centre.

Swami Rameshwarananda Giri introducing Mayor Alviz

Spiritual advisor of HFE Swami Rameshwarananda Giri welcomed all at Campus Phi on the first day, which saw the Mayor of Acebo Javier Alviz Rodriguez speaking and a wonderful video message from the President of the Government of Extremadura (Spain) Mr. Guillermo Fernandez Vara.

The plenary session started with a traditional invocation dance by Ragasudha Vinjamuri followed by the presentation of each of the member’s activities and milestones during the last two years. Dr. Lakshmi Vyas outlined the activities of HFE and acknowledged its Patrons, Advisors, and Spiritual Leaders.

The members later discussed issues and challenges faced by the Hindu communities in different countries ranging from the availability of chaplain and priest services, and cremation sites, to the recognition of Hindu/Sanatana Dharma at national levels. Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, Marie Mandakini, Krishna Kripa Dasa, Gianluca, Parabhakti, Martin Gurvich, Vaidyanath, Arun Jogani, Kesh Morjaria, and Ragasudha Vinjamuri have all presented their reports and inputs on-site and have touched upon the need to act as a unified force.

Mayor Alviz speaking at HFE Meet

Meditation, Yoga, Vishwa Shanti Homa, a presentation on Vedantic answer for a Sustainable Lifestyle, and other environmental activities were key elements on the second day marking World Environment Day and month-long celebrations of International Day of Yoga in Spain.

Elections took place and the new Board took charge in the presence of all members. Dr. Lakshmi Vyas continues to serve as the President of HFE, while Krishna Kripa Dasa takes charge as the Vice President and Gianluca serves as Treasurer and Secretary.

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Community Films Lite Blogs

Movies to celebrate ‘pride month’

This critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama revolves around coming to terms with queerness in African-American cultures. The movie won three Oscars including Best Picture in 2017…writes Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Cinema becomes an important reflection of what life is, often a celebration. It sometimes also mirrors the nuances of the struggles people go through, struggles which are incomprehensible in real life.

“In order to be an ally, you need to acknowledge the struggles, celebrations, and lives of queer individuals. Queer movies become a source of understanding the queer experience which in return gives you an insight into how similar yet different our lives are. It not only expand your understanding of queer lives but also sensitize you to the struggle and oppression that the community went through at the hands of patriarchy and heteronormativity”, says Yashwant Panwar, Communications lead Imbue Natural.

This Pride Month, here’s a look at the movies that have helped us understand and witness what it means to be queer in different parts of the world.

Fire

Loosely based on Ismat Chugtai’s sensational short story Lihaaf, Fire is one of the first Indian movies that explicitly depicted the struggle of queer women in an overtly homophobic and patriarchal society.

Memories in March

This masterpiece by Rituparono Ghosh not only gives us a perspective on coming to terms with queerness, but also teaches how grief brings people together.

Aligarh

A movie that strips itself off of all the subtle metaphors and gives us a raw depiction of what it means to be queer in a religion-driven homophobic Indian society. This is not just the story of professor Siras but everyone who had to face discrimination because of their identity.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

A coming-of-age story about love, acceptance, betrayal and accepting your identity.

Carol

An adaptation of the romantic novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, the story revolves around the relationship between Carol, a recently divorced mother and Therese, an aspiring photographer.

Boys Don’t Cry

Based on the murder of Nebraskan Trans-man Brendon Teena, this is one of the first movies that initiated the conversation around gender and transphobia in mainstream cinema.

Moonlight

This critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama revolves around coming to terms with queerness in African-American cultures. The movie won three Oscars including Best Picture in 2017.

Margarita with A Straw

One of the first Indian movies to depict queerness and disability explicitly. The story revolves around Leila Kapoor, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy and her encounter with bisexuality, new york, family and life.

Kapoor and Sons

A Bollywood anomaly that depicts a queer experience as a practical reality, instead of sensationalising or de-sensitising sexual identities.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This French masterpiece gives us the beauty of the female gaze. Set in the 1770s the story moves beyond the love of an artist and her muse by portraying love as an art.

ALSO READ-Ayushmann unveils pride flag to bring awareness

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Community India News Politics

Archbishop urges K’taka Guv not to give assent to anti-conversion bill

According to Census data, the percentage of Christian population in the country in 2001 was 2.34 per cent, and, as per the 2011 data, declined marginally to 2.30 per cent, he noted…reports Asian Lite News

A delegation, headed by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bengaluru and Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council President, Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, on Monday appealed to Karnataka’s Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot to refrain from giving assent to the Protection of Religious Freedom Bill.

He said that the entire Christian community in Karnataka opposes the Bill, also known as the anti-conversion bill, in one voice.

“It is indeed a matter of great concern that the anti-conversion bill would become a tool for the fringe elements to take law into their own hands, and vitiate the atmosphere with provocations, false accusations, communal unrest in the otherwise peaceful state of Karnataka, the Archbishop said.

A few stray and sporadic incidents of conversion should not portray the entire community in bad light, he added.

The government’s statistics prove beyond doubt that, since Independence, there has been hardly any growth in conversions, and it is all fabricated to suit the political agendas of some political parties, he said.

According to Census data, the percentage of Christian population in the country in 2001 was 2.34 per cent, and, as per the 2011 data, declined marginally to 2.30 per cent, he noted.

Also, in Karnataka, the situation is in no way different, he said, adding that as per the statistics, Christians in Karnataka, as per the 2001 census, comprised 1.91 per cent, while it significantly decreased to 1.87 per cent in 2011.

“If there were rampant conversions, as claimed by some, the Christian population, both in state and nation, would have seen a considerable increase in numbers. But the facts and figures indicate that a lot of hue and cry, over religious conversion, is unrealistically magnified and grossly exaggerated,” Machado maintained.

“Hence, we, the representatives of the Christian community in Karnataka, strongly appeal to Your Excellency to refrain from giving assent to such an undesirable and discriminatory Bill in the interest and welfare of the Christian minority community, and also to maintain peace, harmony and unity among all the religious communities in the state and in the country,” he said.

The community questions the need for such an exercise when sufficient laws and court directives are in place to monitor any aberration of the existing laws, he said.

With the state Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Departments issuing an order to conduct a survey of both official and non-official Christian missionaries and institutions and establishments functioning in the state, Machado said: “When all the relevant data is already available (through the Census) with the government, why do we need yet another futile exercise? Why is only Christian minority community targeted and marked for this arbitrary, fallacious and illogical move? What is the motive that is driving them to do so?”

“It is a well-known fact that thousands of schools, colleges and hospitals are run and managed by Christian community across the state and country as well,” he said.

“May we reiterate the point that not a single incident of forced conversion has been reported so far. Then, where is the complaint coming from and what is the motive behind such false and fabricated news? Let the Government prove whether any one of them has ever been influenced, compelled or coerced to change his or her religion,” the Archbishop said.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced that his government would implement the anti-conversion law through promulgating an ordinance. The bill has been passed in the Assembly and but is yet to be presented in the Legislative Council.

ALSO READ-World mourns Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s death

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Community India News

AIMPLB slams Gyanvapi survey, no ‘Shivling’ found

The court order was based on a petition that was filed by an advocate that there was some concrete evidence that needed to be protected…reports Asian Lite News

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has reacted sharply and condemned the survey of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi masjid and sealing of ‘wuzu khana’ (ablution area).

The board termed the survey, its report and sealing of ‘wuzu khana’ as gross injustice to Muslims.

In a statement issued late on Monday evening, the AIMPLB said the current situation created about the Gyanvapi mosque was completely unacceptable to Muslims and Gyanvapi “was a mosque and will continue to remain a mosque till the end”.

AIMPLB General Secretary, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said, “Gyanvapi is a mosque and will remain a mosque. The attempt to transform it into a temple is nothing more than a conspiracy to spread hate by communal forces.”

However, Rais Ahmad Ansari, an advocate of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque, has called petitioners’ claim about a “Shivling” being found at the mosque “misleading”.

“There’s only a fountain in the mosque’s wuzu khana,” Ansari said.

His statement came after a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi ordered the sealing of the spot where “Shivling” was reportedly found and Hindu petitioners claimed that a ‘Shivling’ had been found in the survey.

The court order was based on a petition that was filed by an advocate that there was some concrete evidence that needed to be protected.

The Supreme Court bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will hear this case on Tuesday.

An appeal that has been filed by the Masjid Committee against the Allahabad High Court’s order allowing the court-appointed Commissioner to the Inspector, conduct a survey and videography of the Gyanvapi mosque.

The Gyanvapi mosque is adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.

At present, the Varanasi court has directed the Archaeological Survey of India to probe the structure of the Gyanvapi masjid.

On April 18, 2021, five Delhi-based women — Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, among others moved the court with their plea where they sought permission for daily prayers before the idols of Hindu deities on the outer walls of the masjid.

The petitioners also sought to stop their opponents from causing any damage to the idols.

An advocate from the Hindu side, Madan Mohan Yadav, has claimed that the Shivling is facing the Nandi and is 12 feet by 8 inches in diameter.

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Community India News

‘Don’t buy gold from shops owned by Muslims’

Pramod Muthalik, founder of Sri Ram Sena, said on Monday that people should make purchases only from shops owned by Hindus on Akshaya Tritiya…reports Asian Lite News

With Akshaya Tritiya round the corner, Hindu outfits in Karnataka have urged people not to purchase gold from jewellery shops owned by Muslims on the day of the festival.

Akshaya Tritiya is a Hindu festival which is believed to bring good luck, and people believe that buying gold on this day will turn their fortunes. The festival will be celebrated on May 3.

However, the auspicious occasion has been given a communal tone this time with Hindu outfits urging people not to make any purchase from jewellery shops owned by Muslims. Posts and messages to this effect have gone viral on social media.

Pramod Muthalik, founder of Sri Ram Sena, said on Monday that people should make purchases only from shops owned by Hindus on Akshaya Tritiya.

“The money which you pay for gold jewelleries at Muslim shops will reach organisations working against Hindus. The money will find its way to organisations based out of Kerala, where scores of Hindus have been killed by fundamentalist groups. Your money will help them commit more atrocities on Hindus in Kerala,” he said.

T.A. Sharavana, the President of Karnataka Jewellers Association, said that the statements are being made to create unrest in the society.

“It should be left to the discretion of the customer to make purchase of their choice,” he said.

According to sources, about 30 per cent of gold merchants in Karnataka are Muslims and in Bengaluru, 50 per cent of reputed gold jewellery shops are owned by Muslims. The shops have already started making attractive offers for the upcoming festival.

The state government is yet to react to the development.

ALSO READ-Muslim Brotherhood leader sentenced to life prison in Egypt

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Community India News

22 held after communal clash during Hanuman Jayanti

The clashes broke out between the two groups of people when the Shobha Yatra procession was passing through the road just next to Kusal Cinema Hall, on the opposite side of which is a mosque…reports Asian Lite News

Delhi Police has arrested a total of 20 people and apprehended 2 juveniles in case of a communal violence that erupted during a Shobha Yatra procession on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti in the national capital, officials said on Sunday.

The accused were identified as Zahid (20), Anshar (35), Shahjad (33), Mukhtyaar Ali (28), Mohd. Ali (18), Amir (19), Aksar (26), Noor Alam (28), Md. Aslam (21), Zakir (22), Akram (22), Imtyaz (29), Mohd. Ali (27), Ahir (37), Sheikh Saurabh (42), Suraj (21), Neeraj (19), Suken (45), Suresh (43) and Sujeet Sarkar (38), all residents of Jahangirpuri.

Apart from them, two juveniles were also apprehended.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (northwest) Usha Rangnani said three firearms and five swords have also been recovered from the possession of the arrested persons.

The accused were booked under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon),149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 436 (Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 307 (Attempt to murder), 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 27 of the Arms Act.

The clashes broke out between the two groups of people when the Shobha Yatra procession was passing through the road just next to Kusal Cinema Hall, on the opposite side of which is a mosque.

As per several videos of the procession accessed by IANS, people can be seen wielding swords and chanting religious slogans just before the clashes broke out.

According to the FIR lodged at the Jahangirpuri police station, the Shobha Yatra procession was passing off peacefully, but at around 6 p.m., when they reached outside a mosque, the accused Anshar came there with his 4-5 associates and started arguing with the participants of Shobha Yatra.

The argument soon turned violent and both the sides started pelting stones at each other.

“I, Inspector Rajiv Ranjan Singh, tried to pacify the situation and separated the two groups, however, within some time, they again started pelting stones after which I informed the Police Control Room about the development,” read the FIR.

Soon after this, more police force reached the spot along with senior officials, however, by that time the mob had turned completely violent. The mob pelted stones on the police force and also fired shots at them.

At least 8 policemen were injured.

To contain the situation and disperse the crowd, the police fired 40-50 tear gas shells. Amid the pandemonium, one scooty was torched and 5-6 cars were vandalised.

The Police normalised the situation with the help of paramilitary forces and at around 8 p.m. in the evening the situation was under control, yet tense.

Later, the area became the epicentre of the heavy police deployment, with the road, where the violent clashes took place, extensively barricaded from all sides.

On Sunday, the situation was under control and an adequate number of police force was deployed there to avert any untoward incident.

The police said that area domination, foot patrolling and deep deployment has been ensured to assure people and to maintain law and order in the area.

Meanwhile, the personnel of Delhi Police carried out preventive patrolling and area domination throughout the night in the backdrop of violent clashes.

Delhi Police is also in talks with the members of the Aman committee. During the meeting, all the members were asked to appeal to the public in their areas to maintain peace, harmony and tranquility.

“They were also requested to counter any rumour or misinformation, be vigilant towards the activities of any mischievous and anti-social elements, to keep in touch with police and to ensure immediate reporting of any thing suspicious that comes into their notice,” a senior official said.

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