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USA U.S. Congress launches American Sikh Congressional Caucus

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    U.S. Congress launches American Sikh Congressional Caucus

    ANI - Washington , Wed, 24 Apr 2013


    Washington, April 24 (ANI): The U.S. Congress today launched the American Sikh Congressional Caucus during 113th Congress to garner more support from Congress members to resolve issues confronting the Sikh community.

    The caucus will serve to educate Members of Congress and the general public about American Sikhs issues and draw strategy on how to support the American Sikh community.

    In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror strikes, American Sikhs have experienced a sharp rise in incidents of bias, motivated violence and bullying.

    According to available reports, over 700 such incidents have taken place in the United States over the last decade.

    Surveys have also found that three out of every four Sikh boys in the United States are bullied due to their appearance.

    The shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek (Wisconsin) last year is a tragic example of why the Congress must focus on American Sikh issues.

    Democrat Congress member Judy Chu from Pasadena, California, and Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, hailed American Sikhs by saying that they have contributed to the strength and diversity of the United States for over 130 years, starting businesses and becoming active leaders in our local communities.

    She said that although American Sikhs have served with distinction in the U.S. armed forces in both World Wars, Vietnam and most recently in Afghanistan, Sikhs are presumptively not permitted to join the U.S. armed forces because of restrictive appearance regulations.

    American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) Coordinator Dr.Pritpal Singh welcomed the formation of the caucus, saying its coming into existence would give individuals and advocacy groups will have a platform to disseminate information on Sikh issues to the members of Congress.

    "We will apprise policy makers about the significant issues affecting the community,'' said Dr.Pritpal Singh.

    Among the issues confronting the Sikh community is one relating to their identity, as they have become victims of hate crimes in the United States because of mistaken identity.

    "The turban issue, the security of Sikh gurdwaras (Shrine) and human rights issues are other vital subjects that need attention,'' said Harpreet Singh, a California-based political activist.

    Many groups, including the Sikh Coalition, the United Sikhs and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund took part actively in the program.
    Jasdeep Singh, Legal Director of the Sikh Coalition, further said that the Caucus would serve as a voice of Sikhs and their issues.

    "We want many more Congress members to join the caucus, and will reach out to all our friends in the near future and make this group a major platform,'' said Manmeet Singh, a representative of the United Sikhs forum.

    Congressman David Valadao, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Mike Honda, Congresswoman Lleana Ros-Lehtinen and other members of the Congressional Sikh Caucus were present during the announcement of the launch of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

    source: http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsd...nches-American-Sikh-Congressional-Caucus.html
     

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  3. spnadmin

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    This is historically important. It makes Sikh Americans officially part of the Congressional landscape. We don't have to knock on the door to be heard, and wait for the door to open (as would be the case in being called to a congressional hearing). We do not have to visit and hope that a US Congressman will decide to champion our cause.

    The concept of a "caucus" is organized so that an appointed group of legislators is readily "in committee" so to speak to hear testimony and be prepared to speak on congressional issues affecting minorities and other groups when they arise. They are called congressional member organizations (caucus refers to a meeting of supportive members of a movement), indicating that congressional members identify with the concerns of the group, and represent their issues in floor debate and in chambers.

    p/s I did some quick checking and among these congressional member organizations is a Congressional Sindh Caucus, with the contacts from the American-Sindh community, a bridge that is always there "on the ready" to act as a present voice even at times when the caucus or Congress may not actually be meeting. Cannot wait to see who the Sikh contact/s will be.
     
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  4. Archived_Member16

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    India concerned over pro-Khalistan group's proximity to US lawmakers

    PTI - Posted online: Mon Apr 29 2013, 15:24 hrs

    Washington :
    A marginalised Sikh group, which in the past had known supporters of Khalistan, has once again gained access to the powerful corridors of the Capitol Hill, raising concerns for India - this time piggybacking on the issue of hate crime that the community is facing in the US.

    When more than two dozen lawmakers announced formation of the first-ever Sikh American Congressional Caucus last week at the Capitol Hill, it was the presence of quite a number of individuals and representatives of organisations, who in the past have openly supported Khalistan, raised eye brows among the friends of India in Washington.

    "Sikhs who were present in the Sikh Congressional Caucus event in Washington were of the ideology of pro-Khalistan," said Dalwinder Singh Dhoot, chairman of California-based North America Punjabi Association (NAPA) said in a statement.

    A number of eminent Sikh American organisations including NAPA were not invited either to the announcement ceremony on April 24 or at the reception held at the Capitol Hill. Neither was there any representation from the Indian Embassy.

    "Neither we had any information about this Sikh Congressional Caucus nor were we invited to attend the event due to the reasons unknown to them (organisers)," NAPA spokesman Satnam Singh Chahal, said, adding that it looks like that the 28 US Congressmen who are its founding members have been "taken for a ride" by this pro-Khalistan group.

    "Yes, yes, yes" Chahal said when asked if the Congressmen "have been deceived" by this pro-Khalistan group.

    "It is a big mystery as to why the majority of Sikh community were kept out of this," he said.

    The bi-partisan Sikh American Congressional Caucus is co-chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu from the Democratic Party and David Valadao from the Republican Party.

    Chu said last week soon after announcing the formation of the group that their focus would be on solely "domestic issues" mainly hate crime and enlisting Sikhs in the US Army and that they will not use this platform for "foreign issues" including the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India.

    However, Sikh supporters of the group, who helped in pulling this together, noted that this is the first step in their larger goal.

    "Our objective remains the same, but the path has changed. Now we will pursue our goal through dialogue and debate," a Sikh leader present at the launch had said.

    Veteran community leaders said that several of the individuals present at the launch event and at the reception have been blacklisted by India and in the past have had not only supported militancy in Punjab but also had held protests in front of the Indian Embassy in support of Khalistan.

    The Indian Embassy in Washington, which was "conspicuously not invited" to this important event, what many term as a historic one, has said it has always stood for the protection of the interests of all Indian Americans including members of the Sikh American community.

    Insiders in the Sikh American community, who worked behind scenes for the creation of the Sikh Caucus, said that the Indian Embassy officials had expressed their apprehension to the lawmakers about the presence of individuals and groups who in the past have worked against it.

    An official of a New York-based Sikh advocacy group said, this was one of the reasons that none from the Indian Embassy were present at the launch event, which for the pro-Khalistan group is being billed as their major "diplomatic victory" against India after a long time.

    However, the lawmakers, well aware of India's apprehensions, have asserted that the goal of this caucus is to address the issue of "hate crime" against the Sikhs US, as the community has been a major victim of it post 9/11.

    "Rest assured, this platform will not be used against India. We are aware of the strategic importance of India-US relationship," a Congressional aide said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

    "The Sikhs are prominent personalities in all walks of Indian life and contribute significantly to India's progress and wellbeing. Our friends and interlocutors in the US Congress are aware of this approach which was demonstrated in full measure when the Oak Creek killings took place in August of 2012," M Sridharan, spokesperson of the Indian Embassy, said in response to a question.

    "The Embassy looks forward to working closely with the members of the newly constituted Congressional Caucus, the American Sikh community and members of the vibrant Indian American community in consonance with the intended objective of the Caucus and to further strengthen the India-US strategic partnership," Sridharan said.

    Noting that the announced aims of the Caucus seek to protect the daily lives and uphold the civic rights of Sikh Americans who are an important part of the many-splendoured mosaic of American democracy, he said the Embassy believes in upholding the interests of the Sikh community.

    source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/i...an-groups-proximity-to-us-lawmakers/1109219/0
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    It never stops! Someday India, now in its ascendancy, will be in a position to dictate terms of American democracy, and disseminate whatever misperceptions desired by its political machinery. For now, let's leave it at... All Sikhs in the US, as part of the membership of American political life, have access to Congress. Yes, those who support Khalistan! Even vegetarians ! :winkingkaur:
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    p/s I am sorry for belaboring the point. However the byline of North American Punjabi Association NABA is, and I quote, "The Mouthpiece of the Punjabi Community Overseas."

    Does anyone see anything just a bit inflated about that? "Mouthpiece" the "Punjabi Community Overseas." The entire diaspora?

    Someone got upset!
     
  7. Archived_Member16

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    Soul_jyot: History proves Sikhs are Sikhs' worst enemies.
    Everyone wants to be the self serving ego driven Jathedar to be
    "used" against their own people by the powers to be!


    As a matter of interest the following might provide a motive for their out burst for being left out:

    Statement of Vision & Values

    North American Punjabi Association(NAPA)is committed to:


    » Promoting mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect among the region’s diverse religions and cultures;
    » Seeking opportunities for conversation, partnership, education, hospitality and celebration among its members;
    » Honoring each other’s religious festivals and, where appropriate, sharing together in common prayer;
    » Addressing concerns and pursuing common goals that impact the religious communities of North America;
    » Providing moral leadership on mutually agreed-upon issues
    » Serving needy, hungry, homeless and marginalized people;
    » Fostering peace, compassion, kindness, openness and trust; and
    » Encouraging one another in embracing these commitments
    * To play an important role as a pressure Group in the political System for the great interest of our Community in our back home in Punjab.

    NAPA is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in USA,Canada and United Kingdom, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin North America by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in North America.

    - http://www.thenapa.com/statement-of-vision-values/
     
  8. spnadmin

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    Soul-jyot ji

    Well given the NAPA mission, which you so graciously posted, there should be no problem with having a Sikh Caucus that is concerned with Sikh political advocacy at the Congressional level.

    Most of the NAPA mission statement is not concerned with political advocacy. The final plank in the NAPA platform is about advocacy for Sikhs in India.

    * To play an important role as a pressure Group in the political System for the great interest of our Community in our back home in Punjab.

    On the other hand, the central purpose of the Sikh Caucus is "play in important role" in the political system for Sikhs in the US.

    These two organizations, NAPA and Sikh Caucus, have different missions. Why then the NAPA protest?

    Respected, legitimate advocacy groups (Sikh Coalition, SALDEF) work very hard to gain a voice for Sikhs, through systematic and determined effort, and succeed. Why voice concern?

    Will now members of Congress be convinced that there are separatists (code for terrorists) within the Sikh Caucus? Or are they smarter than that?

    One other possibility - the hand of ROI at work in the background. Political machinations have worked to some extent in Canada.

    Why raise the issue of Khalistan? If not to be divisive, then why raise the issue at all? What is the connection between the framers of a Sikh Caucus and Khalistan? Did the Times of India report with accuracy? Are we reading about a red herring? Did this concern originate with NAPA? Or did it originate somewhere else? Or is it motivated only by jealousy? Or re: your comments in red, the reflexive need to throw one another under the bus?
     
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