Sikh24.com – US report on religious freedom trashes India’s claim of vibrant democracy

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 12 June 2020. Referring to the annual report submitted by the US Department of State to the US Congress on International Religious Freedom, the Dal Khalsa has said that the US report has categorically denounced the state of religious freedom in India.

The 27-page report has trashed India’s claim of vibrant democratic traditions and practices.

It is noteworthy here that the US administration has given a detailed account of the protests and criticism against the Indian government’s decisions on the Citizenship Amendment Act and Article 370 in its ‘International Religious Freedom Report’ for 2019.

Party spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh said the report is a mirror as to how badly India treats its minority communities. “The report has vindicated our viewpoint that minorities are unsafe in India and that the present dispensation has criminalized the democratic protest and dissent,” he added.

“The young activists and University students from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh, who have taken cudgels against the discriminatory laws, were facing persecution by law enforcement agencies working under the Union Home Ministry,” he further said.

The Dal Khalsa lambasted the Modi dispensation for denying visas to teams of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a non-governmental advisory body to the US Congress.

“If India has nothing to hide, then it should allow the team of USCIRF, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to visit the country to have a first-hand assessment of the ground situation in conflict regions,” said Kanwarpal Singh.

The Dal Khalsa has urged the Trump administration to reprimand India for terrorizing and intimidating minorities by invoking draconian laws against its people.

Hindustan Times – First Sikh woman to graduate from US Military Academy at West Point

Second Lieutenant Anmol Narang, is a second-generation immigrant born and raised in Roswell, Georgia. She did a year of undergraduate study at the Georgia Institute of Technology before transferring to West Point.

Press Trust of India, posted by: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

West Point – New York State – USA, 13 June 2020. The United States Military Academy at West Point will make history Saturday when it graduates the first Sikh woman to successfully complete the path to a four-year degree.

Second Lt. Anmol Narang, is a second-generation immigrant born and raised in Roswell, Georgia.

She did a year of undergraduate study at the Georgia Institute of Technology before transferring to West Point, where she will graduate Saturday with a degree in nuclear engineering.

She hopes to pursue a career in air defense systems.

“I am excited and honored to be fulfilling my dream of graduating from West Point,” Narang said in a news release from the Sikh Coalition, a nonprofit based in New York that works to protect the constitutional right to practice faith without fear.

“The confidence and support of my community back home in Georgia has been deeply meaningful to me, and I am humbled that in reaching this goal, I am showing other Sikh Americans that any career path is possible for anyone willing to rise to the challenge.”

Narang will complete her Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, officials said. Following that, she will then head to her first post in Okinawa, Japan, in January.

Congress passed a law in 1987 that prohibited Sikhs and other religious communities from maintaining their articles of faith while in the military. A Sikh’s visible articles of faith, including turbans and unshorn facial hair, were banned.

Narang required no accommodation for her articles of faith, but the coalition said “her exemplary service to date underscores how diversity and pluralism remain core strengths of the U.S. military and the country as a whole.”

US Army Captain Simratpal Singh, a family friend, said he is proud of Narang who is “breaking a barrier for any Sikh American who wishes to serve.”

“The broader acceptance of Sikh service members among all of the service branches, as well as in top tier leadership spaces like West Point, will continue to benefit not just the rights of religious minority individuals, but the strength and diversity of the U.S. military,” he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/first-sikh-woman-to-graduate-from-us-military-academy-at-west-point/story-jldZ4T9IiFZEp8tJPuzC9N.html

OFMI Rebukes US Ambassador to India for Endorsing “Racist” Gandhi

Washington – DC Gandhi statue vandalism prompts US apology

Washington DC – USA, 09 June 2020. USA Ambassador to India Ken Juster apologized on 03 June for the “desecration” of a Gandhi statue outside India’s Embassy in Washington, DC after the statue was spray-painted with accusations of “racist” and “rapist” amidst ongoing protests for justice for George Floyd.

As frustrated citizens marched past the Indian Embassy on 02 June, they apparently lashed out against what they perceive to be anti-black propaganda by defacing the nearly nine-foot bronze statue which installed by the Indian government in 2000.

“So sorry to see the desecration of the Gandhi statue,” stated Ambassador Juster.

“Please accept our sincere apologies. We stand against prejudice and discrimination of any type. We will recover and be better.” President Donald Trump followed up on 08 June, stating, “It was a disgrace.”

Gandhi is championed as a symbol of non-violent political resistance after his involvement in resisting Britain’s colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent.

The motive behind the vandalism, however, seems to be resistance to Gandhi’s past record of prejudice and discrimination.

Gandhi statues around the world have faced protests and legal battles for several years by groups alleging he advanced anti-black racism, promoted the caste system, and engaged in sexual abuse of his teenage female relatives.

“It was a disgrace for Ambassador Juster to apologize to the Indian government after protestors against racism vandalized a statue of a racist,” says Arvin Valmuci of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI).

“While African intellectuals are leading the charge to remove Gandhi statues from their land, Black Lives Matter protestors are toppling statues of slave-owners erected on American soil.

This is a moment to stop, take stock, and apologize for promoting people who advanced doctrines of racism and segregation.”

In 2016, a Gandhi statue was removed from the University of Ghana after lecturers and students petitioned the government to remove the “racist symbol,” which was installed without consultation in a space which offers no statues or symbols of African heroes.

Law student Nana Adoma Asare Adei told the BBC: “Having his statue means that we stand for everything he stands for and if he stands for these things [his alleged racism], I don’t think we should have his statue on campus.”

The petition carefully details his racist identity, as well as citing similar efforts across the globe to remove racist symbols.

At Carleton University in 2018, Kenneth Aliu, president of the Institute of African Studies Student Association (IASSA), led a campaign to remove a statue of Gandhi from his campus. “Gandhi was a racist,” said Aliu.

“He utilized anti-Black racism as a weapon to bargain with the British about the subjugation of Indians living in South Africa.”

Aliu explained that Gandhi “advocated for further segregation between people of color” and “portrayed Africans as savages.”

Gandhi’s morality has also been the subject of growing controversy over recent years.

At a 2016 protest agains a Gandhi statue in Davis, California, The Sacramento Bee reported, “Gandhi was also called a pedophile by many in the crowd for sleeping nude with his teenage grandnieces to test the strength of his vow of chastity.”

Speaking bluntly, former Yuba City councillor Tej Maan said, “Gandhi was a child molester.”

Four police officers have been charged in the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed on May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The kneeling officer is charged with second-degree murder. Days after the arrests are made, civil unrest continues.

“Though not all of us are participating in riots,” African activist Jada Bernard clarifies, “we do all understand that the catalyst for the riots was not the first rioter, but the last straw.”

Although sympathetic, citing the successful removal of Confederate statues as racist symbols, Bernard contends that the statue should not be defaced, but legally removed.

“We tend to overlook how softly powerful propaganda is. In New Orleans, I walked past a statue of Robert E Lee on Jefferson Davis Parkway.

It’s like the Confederacy won the war or something. Decolonization includes reevaluating all these people who are propagated as heroes.”

“The Indian government ought to be apologizing to the US for defrauding the African-American community by forcing Gandhi down their throats,” remarks former OFMI director Bhajan Singh.

“It’s a double-victimization. First, Gandhi supported apartheid in South Africa. Second, India used propagand him around the world to whitewash its slaughter of India’s minorities.

Where is the apology for passing off a racist, casteist, rapist monster as a global hero of civil rights?

The hypocrisy of the Hindu nationalist government in India knows no ends as they extort an apology from the US for the vandalism of a statue of a monster even while they are pushing their own variety of racism by working to strip Muslims of citizenship with the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.”

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit OFMI.org for more information.

www.ofmi.org

The Nation – Why Bhindranwale remains relevant

Adeela Naureen and Umar Waqar

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 06 June 2020. The month of June is ingrained in the minds of the Sikh community as it refreshes the painful memories of the tragedy of Operation Blue Star and how the Indian Army desecrated the holiest Sikh shrine of Akal Takht.

But the tragedy also resurrected another legend in the line of brave Sikh warriors; Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

While browsing the social media of Sikh groups across the world, one gets a positive feeling of how the older generations have kept alive the memories of the Sikh struggle for identity and how the youth still remembers the sacrifices of 1984.

06 June 1984, is historic from the view of the Khalistan movement when one of its leading figures was martyred by Indian security forces in the battle for Akal Takht.

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s legend has not only lived on but has now become a source of strength for the Sikh community across the globe, including in India.

Operation Blue Star, with heavy support of armour and artillery, was launched in June 1984 to assassinate Bhindranwale and his valiant soldiers including former Sikh Major General Shabeg Singh.

Bhindranwale was martyred by the Indian Army on 06 June, creating ripples across India and paving way for permanent fissures between the Sikh and Hindu community.

From the grandeur of Sikh rule in the subcontinent to bitter memories of Operation Blue Star and desecration of Akal Takht in 1984 (which resulted into a mutiny in the Indian military), Khalistan has remained a dream for the Sikhs of India as well as their strong diaspora around the entire globe.

In Canada, the US, UK, Europe, South East Asia and Australia, the Khalistan movement is getting a lot of traction.

The Sikh Federation UK had presented their manifesto with three major objectives; an independent inquiry into the actions of the UK government in the lead up to and after the June and November 1984 Sikh genocide; a call for the UK government to recognise the events of June and November 1984 as a Sikh genocide; and a call for the UK government to recognise and support the application for self-determination to the Sikhs for an Independent Khalistan.

A USA and Canada based organisation, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) under Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, has been lobbying for an independent Khalistan, and for the RSS to be declared a terrorist organisation.

Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh had called for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots to be termed genocide. In 2017, the Ottawa State Assembly passed a resolution calling the killings, after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, a genocide.

In 2014, two survivors of the riots testified before the UN. Mobs of angry men had killed thousands of Sikh men and allegedly raped the women, the figures of which are still disputed.

The Indian security establishment is finding it difficult to stem the tide of insurgencies in Kashmir, Khalistan and Naxal-dominated areas.

An international referendum by the Sikh diaspora in 2022 could trigger a wave of independence movements across India and jolt the very foundation of the Indian Union.

Sikhs have also been demanding the repeal of an ambiguous clause in the Indian constitution of 1949, Article 25(2)(b) which states that, “Reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.”

This clause, according to the Sikh community, has denied them their identity as a separate religious community.

Sikh frustration within Indian polity and the Sikh diaspora becoming more proactive has raised alarm bells in the South bloc. The promulgation of the Sikh Congressional Caucus in the US in 2014 is viewed by India as part of the Khalistan movement.

The Times of India then observed that, “The Indian effort to sensitise US lawmakers to New Delhi’s concerns began even before the launch of the caucus, but much to the Indian embassy’s surprise and dismay, pro-Khalistani Sikhs succeeded in getting the caucus off the ground. In the process, they are said to have side-lined mainstream nationalist Sikhs.”

Why has Pakistan not discussed the issue of Khalistan when Modi openly talks of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, this needs some insight.

Unfortunately, there is little debate in the Pakistani media on issues related to India’s internal politics, especially the conflicts within the Indian Union.

A contrast between the Kartarpur Corridor and the Babri Mosque verdict is a contrast between Pakistani and Indian ethos, especially of their dealing with minorities.

Pakistan’s stereotyped perception, built by Indian establishment and their surrogates in Western media, has been shattered; the international community should now focus on Hindutva Republic and mobocracy established by RSS goons.

The Sikh community in Indian Punjab as well as across India came to rescue of Muslims when they were targeted by Hindutva mobs after promulgation of NRC and CAA in India.

With India strangulated in Occupied Kashmir and latest border disputes with China and Nepal and a perpetual state of hostility towards Pakistan, the Khalistan Movement can pick up pace in coming months.

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is a beacon of light for Sikhs across the globe and his sacrifice for Sikh cause will remain a glowing chapter in the history of this valiant nation.

https://nation.com.pk/06-Jun-2020/why-bhindranwale-remains-relevant

Tolo News – Taliban Continues to Back Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan: UN

The UN report says, “the Taliban regularly consulted with Al-Qaeda during negotiations with the US.”

A UN report released on Friday states that the Taliban has failed to fulfill one of the core parts of the US-Taliban agreement, namely that it would break ties with al-Qaeda.

The agreement was signed in February in Doha, Qatar, after months of negotiations.

Al-Qaeda has 400 to 600 operatives active in 12 Afghan provinces and is running training camps in the east of the country, according to the report.

“The Taliban regularly consulted with Al-Qaeda during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honor their historical ties,” the report states.

Al-Qaeda has “reacted positively” to the agreement, with statements from its adherents “celebrating it as a victory for the Taliban’s cause and thus for global militancy,” the UN report said.

The US-Taliban agreement stated that the Taliban “will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies,” and would not “cooperate with groups or individuals threatening the security of the United States and its allies” and would prevent such groups “from recruiting, training, and fundraising.”

The senior leadership of al-Qaeda remains present in Afghanistan, the report says, as well as hundreds of armed operatives, al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, and groups of foreign terrorist fighters aligned with the Taliban.

A number of significant al-Qaeda figures were killed in Afghanistan during the reporting period, the report says.

Relations between the Taliban, especially the Haqqani network and al-Qaeda “remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage,” said the report.

The report also highlights Daesh’s subversive activities in the country, saying that the UN monitoring team now estimates that Daesh numbers are as low as 2,200 in Afghanistan.

The report says that Daesh “remains capable of mounting attacks in various parts of the country, including Kabul,” but some of those attacks claimed “may have arisen wholly or partly from a tactical accommodation with the Haqqani network.”

The authors of the report argue that the Taliban’s credibility as a counter-terrorism partner for the international community will “rest on their success in countering the threat from Daesh’s Khorasan branch,” in addition to their handling of any threat posed by al-Qaeda, the report says.

According to the report, the number of foreign terrorist fighters “in search of a purpose and livelihood” in Afghanistan, including “up to 6,500 Pakistanis,” will “render this a complex challenge,” which will require careful monitoring.

The report come as the Afghan government has expedited its efforts for peace by continuing to release Taliban prisoners from its prisons to move forward towards the intra-Afghan negotiations that Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said he hopes will begin in the next week.

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/taliban-continues-back-al-qaeda-afghanistan-un

Dawn – Navigating an unsettled world

Op/Ed Maleeha Lodhi, 01 June 2020. In an unsettled world where strategic tensions between big powers are mounting, Pakistan faces daunting foreign policy challenges in a turbulent global and regional environment.

The pandemic has injected greater volatility into an international landscape already afflicted by threats to multilateralism, trade and technology wars between big powers and attempts by regional powers to reshape the rules of the game in their neighbourhood.

Understanding the dynamics of a world in disarray where unilateral actions and rejection of international norms by big powers and populist leaders hold sway is important as they have implications for the pursuit of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Four key policy areas pose immediate challenges and have to be simultaneously addressed:
1) Navigating the US-China confrontation
2) Dealing with occupied Kashmir and managing relations with an implacably hostile India
3) Helping Afghanistan win the peace but also preparing for less hopeful scenarios
4) Balancing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Rising tensions between the US and China have a direct bearing on Pakistan. Even as Islamabad does not want this stand-off to affect its relations with either of the two countries, that is easier said than done.

What has been described as a new cold war will intensify in a US election year when President Donald Trump has made China-bashing a central plank of his re-election campaign.

He is both playing off a bipartisan political consensus and fortifying anti-China public sentiment that preceded the pandemic and has been strengthened by it.

Pakistan faces daunting foreign policy challenges in a turbulent environment.

The pandemic has also reinforced US plans to reduce economic dependence on China by reconfiguring or diversifying global supply chains and pursuing a more overt contain-China policy.

When this gets underway it may result in India emerging as a stronger economic partner of Washington.

This will also bolster the longer-standing American strategy to project India as a strategic counterweight to China especially as India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems willing to play that role.

The implications for Pakistan of the US-India entente are already evident by Washington’s tepid response on Kashmir and continuing augmentation of India’s military and strategic capabilities.

Thus, closer US-India relations will confront Pakistan with a regional environment of greater strategic imbalance.

Concern about CPEC and China’s Belt and Road Initiative has prompted frequent US criticism of these megaprojects.

A White House report sent last month to Congress is more explicit, asserting that BRI will give China “undue political influence and military access”.

Statements by American officials that CPEC will impose a heavy debt burden on Islamabad represent unsubtle though vain efforts to drive a wedge between Pakistan and China.

While Islamabad will want to avoid getting in the cross hairs of US-China friction it is obvious that Pakistan’s strategic future lies with China.

CPEC is emblematic of China’s aim to strengthen Pakistan, economically and strategically, and must be our overriding priority.

Pakistan’s relations with China remain on a positive trajectory but will need regular reinforcement. Close consultation with Beijing on key global and regional issues, including Afghanistan, will be important.

Ties with the US have improved, but lack substantive content. For now, the main commonality is Afghanistan.

That too will be tested in coming months when hurdles are encountered in the fragile Afghan peace process. Nevertheless, it is important to keep engagement on a positive track while accepting the limits of the relationship.

On Afghanistan, Pakistan should extend whatever assistance it can to the much-delayed peace process, still facing a host of challenges.

The recent Eid ceasefire between the Taliban and Kabul and the accord between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have however brightened prospects.

What Pakistan’s establishment must come to terms with is President Trump’s intention to pull out US troops regardless of whether intra-Afghan talks advance or produce a negotiated end to the war.

The latest indications of this are the US military withdrawal proceeding ahead of schedule and Trump’s reiteration that it was time for Afghans “to police their own country”.

Washington’s stance is unlikely to change if Trump loses the November election to Joe Biden as they have similar views on disentangling the US from its costly involvement in Afghanistan.

Islamabad thus needs to think long term and prepare for different scenarios that might emerge in Afghanistan keeping in view machinations by regional countries acting as spoilers in Afghanistan’s peace effort.

Pakistan’s most imposing challenge however will remain managing relations with India where the Modi government is bent upon crushing the Kashmiri resistance by unprecedented levels of repression and orchestrating anti-Muslim sentiment and pogroms in India.

Dialogue with Delhi is ruled out by its brutal and illegal actions in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where even medical services have been denied during the pandemic, and India’s refusal to discuss the issue.

Aggressive moves by India on the Line of Control and covert actions in Balochistan represent a toxic mix that have sent tensions soaring with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s repeated warnings about a possible false flag Indian operation underlines the growing danger.

Faced with this, Pakistan will have to avoid any engagement for the sake of engagement with India unless Pakistan’s concerns are accommodated in future talks. This is hard to see under Modi.

On Kashmir, Pakistan needs a strategic approach and a sustained diplomatic campaign, not an on-off approach. Tweets are not a diplomatic strategy. Noise is not a policy.

A strategy for a changed global environment should preserve our principled stance while mobilising international support for a peaceful Kashmir settlement.

This means pushing the boundaries at the international level. For a start, a virtual meeting of OIC foreign ministers should be sought, taking advantage of the rising concern among many OIC countries about India’s anti-Muslim actions.

Once the situation permits, Pakistan should also seek a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council exclusively on occupied Kashmir to refocus world attention on the egregious human rights violations there.

Space limits detailed consideration of policy towards the Middle East.

Most importantly, Pakistan should deftly balance its relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who remain locked in a tense stand-off, and stay the course on a policy that avoids being drawn into their rivalry, however challenging it may be given Pakistan’s increased financial reliance on Riyadh.

The writer is a former ambassador to the US, UK and UN.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1560480/navigating-an-unsettled-world

The Hindu – LAC standoff – India says Trump did not talk to Modi on China

Ministry of External Affairs rejects USA President’s claim that he discussed border tensions with PM.

Suhasini Haidar

New Delhi – India, 30 May 2020. The government on Friday forcefully rejected USA President Donald Trump’s claim that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, or that the two leaders spoke at all.

Government sources said India would not accept Mr Trump’s offer to mediate on the stand-off at the LAC, and this was conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to his American counterpart on Friday.

“There has been no recent contact between PM Modi and President Trump. The last conversation between them was on 4 April 2020 on Hydroxychloroquine [HCQ],” said sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

According to Defence Ministry sources, Mr Singh, who discussed issues around COVID-19 and the defence partnership with USA Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a telephone call on Friday, used the occasion to convey India’s firm commitment to resolving issues with China bilaterally, “through the established mechanisms that exist between India and China.”

Mr Singh is understood to have also stressed that the resolution of the month-long stand-off at different points along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim could “take some time” but that India and China had in the past managed to resolve border issues without mediation by others.

Government officials told The Hindu that they were taken by surprise by the USA President’s comments, particularly his reference to Mr Modi’s “mood” when Mr. Trump claimed to have spoken to him.

“I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He’s not, he’s not in a good mood about what’s going on with China,” Mr Trump told reporters at White House on Thursday (Friday morning India time).

When asked by reporters about his offer of mediation on the “raging border dispute” between India and China, made first in a tweet on Thursday, Mr Trump said he would be willing to broker talks between the two countries if “it would help”.

“I would do that. You know, I would do that. If they, if they thought it would help if I were the mediator or the arbiter, I would do that. So, we’ll see,” Mr Trump told a correspondent from PTI news agency who asked him about his tweet.

However, the MEA sources reiterated that the Ministry’s official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava “made it clear” on Thursday that India was “directly in touch with the Chinese through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts.”

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-officials-deny-trumps-claim-of-talk-with-modi-on-lac-situation/article31700766.ece

The Asian Age – Big technology firms should be stopped from turning the world into a China, Noam Chomsky says

He is referring to China’s social credit system that tracks citizens to award/deduct points on a score determining one’s access to services.

New York – State of New York, 25 May 2020. The role of technology in helping push back against the novel coronavirus has been hailed widely. But it also means that people are constantly being watched by entities that can set the tone for public behaviour without giving a shred of consideration to people’s privacy.

One of the greatest contemporary thinkers, Noam Chomsky, warns of the consequences of technology being allowed to control our lives in the guise of making our lives easier.

In an interview with AFP, Chomsky talked about how the dystopian reality of digital surveillance is already here. “There are now companies developing technology which make it possible for the employer to look at what’s on your computer screen and to check your keystrokes and if you get up and walk away for a minute, they’ll send you a warning.”

“That’s being installed right now, It’s not the future.”

The very things that are convenient are the ones that are invasive, he pointed out. “The so-called Internet of Things is coming along. It’s convenient.

It means if you’re driving home you can turn on the stove, but it also means that that information is going to Google and Facebook, to the government, the American government, the French government, it’s an enormous amount of potential control, surveillance and invasion. But this has happened. It’s not the future.

“If we allow the huge tech companies, the state, to control our life that’s what will happen. They’ll turn it into something like China, where you have social credit systems and in some cities you get a certain amount of credits, there’s face recognition technology all over the place and everything you do gets monitored.

“If you cross the street in the wrong place, you can lose some credits, and so on. “It’s not inevitable, just like global warming, that it’s going to happen, unless people stop it.”

When asked whether the use of surveillance was justified in combating COVID-19, said “It might be, during the period of threat. There’s controls needed during wartime, you have rationing. But it doesn’t have to be permanent. ‘Yes, we’ll let you have this authority now, but it can be revoked at any time.'”

Speaking about other major problems facing humankind, Chomsky said global warming was a greater threat than even the deadly pandemic. “As severe as this pandemic is, it’s not the worst problem.

There will be recovery from the pandemic at severe cost, but there isn’t going to be any recovery from the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of sea levels and the other deleterious effects of global warming,” he said.

However, it is evident that the public is either not aware or not bothered to see global warming as a serious enough problem.

That kind of a public in the US also voted for a leadership that has proven itself wholly unequal to the task of managing the pandemic in the country where more than 100,000 people have died of it . “There’s no coherent leadership. It’s chaotic.

The presidency, the White House, is in the hands of a sociopathic megalomaniac who’s interested in nothing but his own power, electoral prospects, doesn’t care what happens to the country, the world,” Chomsky said, in scathing criticism of President Donald Trump.

Chomsky spelled out how the administration under Trump never even gave the US a chance against COVID-19. “As soon as Trump came in, his first move was to dismantle the entire pandemic prevention machinery.

At the start, defunding the Center for Disease Control, which would deal with this. And canceling programs that were working with Chinese scientists to identify potential viruses. So the US was singularly unprepared,” Chomsky said.

He explained the economic model that led to the current situation. “It’s a privatised society, very wealthy, with enormous advantages, far more than any other country, but it’s in the stranglehold of private control.

“It doesn’t have a universal health care system. It’s the ultimate neoliberal system, actually.”

He compared it to Europe, which in “many ways is worse, because the austerity programs just amplify the danger, because of the severe attack on democracy in Europe, the shifting decisions to Brussels.”

But he added, “At least it has the residue of some kind of social democratic structure, which provides some support, which is what I think is lacking in the US.”

https://www.asianage.com/technology/in-other-news/250520/big-technology-firms-should-be-stopped-from-turning-the-world-into-a-china-noam-chomsky-says.html

The Tribune – Deported from the USA – 167 illegal immigrants reach Amritsar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 20 May 2020. The US has deported 167 illegal Indian immigrants through a special flight that landed at the airport here around 4 pm on Tuesday.

On their arrival, they were shifted to a high-security area where medical teams screened each one of them. They had reports of rapid diagnostic test (Covid-19) conducted before boarding the plane in the US. As the protocol demands, all will be placed under the 14-day quarantine in their home districts.

Ajnala SDM Deepak Bhatia said, “The medical examination of the returnees is underway. So far, no suspected case of Covid-19 has surfaced.”

Of the 167 illegal immigrants, 79 are from Haryana, 67 from Punjab, eight from Gujarat, three each from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, two each from Kerala and Telangana, and one each from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.

The SDM said, “Of the 67 returnees from Punjab, five each belong to Amritsar and Tarn Taran. Besides, 21 others will stay in Amritsar temporarily before they will be sent to their native states. We are working on the modalities in this connection.”

Sources say the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested 1,793 illegal Indian immigrants.

Most of them sneaked in to Texas, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington and Atlanta illegally through Mexico border illegally and sought asylum on the pretext of “atrocities and persecution” in India. They were, however, nabbed and lodged in 95 detention centres in New York, Atlanta and San Francisco.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/deported-from-us-167-illegal-immigrants-reach-amritsar-87062

NJ.com – Sikh student called a terrorist, targeted with racial slurs while school did nothing, suit claims

Matt Gray

Gloucester County – New Jersey – USA, 20 May 2020. Students targeted a Sikh high schooler with racial slurs and called him a terrorist, while school officials failed to stop the abuse, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.

The Gloucester County Institute of Technology student’s mother has filed a lawsuit on her son’s behalf alleging the county special services school district board of education violated the state Law Against Discrimination by refusing to address the bullying, which she says was based on his religious faith and national origin.

She also alleges he faced retaliation for speaking up about the mistreatment.

Her 17-year-old son, identified only by the initials A.M. in the lawsuit, has suffered from health problems as a result of the abuse and has been forced to continue his schooling from home, the suit states.

A.M. is of “South Asian descent, has brown skin and is a member of the Sikh religion,” according to the suit, which claims he was targeted over his religion and appearance.

Trouble began in his freshman year, when a student allegedly called him a terrorist in front of others in the school cafeteria. Issues continued in 10th grade, when that same student called A.M. “sand cricket” and “sand n—–,” the suit claims. Other students began joining in, with one repeatedly calling him “sand cricket” during gym class.

In addition to these terms, A.M. was targeted for his religious wear, “including the kara, a Sikh article of faith, which he wears around his wrist.” Two gym teachers were present when students “would openly bully and harass” A.M.

“We believe that the facts show that he was being harassed, intimidated and bulled and that it was motivated by his being Sikh and/or of Indian descent,” said the family’s attorney, Brian M. Cige. “That’s bad in and of itself, but the failure of the school to take the allegations seriously allowed this behavior to continue.”

GCIT officials did not respond to a request for comment.

In December 2018, A.M. and his mother met with Assistant Principal Joyann Ford to report the behavior, but say nothing changed. After that meeting, A.M. tried to resolve the issue himself by asking the students to stop using “racial slurs and derogatory names,” but the behavior continued.

A.M. began meeting with a therapist a month later and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, according to the lawsuit.

The family met with Ford and a school HIB (harassment, intimidation, bullying) specialist to explain that the mistreatment was continuing and that A.M. “was suffering from medical issues and under professional care as a result of the constant bullying, mocking, intimidation and harassment.”

The school began an investigation but found no evidence that A.M. was the target of harassment, intimidation or bullying, according to the suit.

The complaint describes another incident from January 2019 when one of the students in homeroom said “Look, it’s sand cricket” and “sand cricket looks upset.” Another student took out his phone to show an image he had created by taking a character from an animated film and placing A.M.’s face on the figure.

A.M. got up and asked his teacher for permission to go to the nurse’s office, where he explained what had just happened. Later that day, he said he received a message via Snapchat from one of the students involved in the homeroom incident, saying that A.M. had snitched on them and may have ruined a student’s career at GCIT.

After A.M. filed a complaint with the school, one GCIT official allegedly told him that another student identified in the complaint had done nothing wrong by calling him “sand cricket,” saying it was simply a nickname.

School officials also demanded A.M. “stop turning in students, as it was making them do too much work,” according to the suit.

Because of his issues at school, A.M.’s pediatrician recommended that he only go to GCIT for testing and only under adult supervision, and later advised that homeschooling may be necessary because of the teen’s PTSD, extreme anxiety, depression and blackouts caused by stress from the bullying.

He began homeschooling in February 2019 and has remained in that situation ever since. Before the coronavirus pandemic closed schools in March, A.M. was receiving five hours a week of in-person instruction from a school employee who came to his home.

Now that all students are learning remotely, A.M.’s schooling has been reduced to about 90 minutes a week of remote instruction, with no teacher coming to his home. Meanwhile, other GCIT students are receiving full schedules of remote instruction each school day, Cige said.

In return for raising concerns, A.M. was forced to isolate himself and take classes from home, since the district didn’t address the problem, according to his attorney. He remains separated from his classmates even while all students are now learning remotely. “Even after all the other children were receiving homeschooling, he was not reintegrated into his classroom,” Cige said.

A.M. continues to experience “difficulties with isolation as a result of being home schooled,” according to the suit, and would like to return to school in September if the district can address his complaints.

“We would like some sensitivity training so that the school recognizes the seriousness of the allegations that were raised and takes concrete action to educate so that this doesn’t continue to be an issue,” Cige said.

The Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group based in New York City, has joined as a non-profit co-counsel on the case.

In addition to seeking remedies to the alleged discrimination, the state Law Against Discrimination allows compensatory damages for emotional distress and to cover litigation costs.

A.M. continues to work hard, Cige noted.

“While some students facing similar challenges might see their academic performance plummet, that hasn’t been the case here,” the attorney said. “His grades are fine. I’m pleased to say that his academic performance is good.”

https://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/2020/05/sikh-student-called-a-terrorist-targeted-with-racial-slurs-while-school-did-nothing-suit-claims.htm