Gay Desi Pharmacist accused of murdering wife was having affairs on Grindr, court hears

A while ago there were news accounts of a 37 year old Desi Pharmacist Mitesh Patel, who was accused of killing his wife wife Jessica. They lived in a large Victorian home in the leafy suburb of Linthorpe, Middlesbrough in England.

Mitesh Patel, 37, is accused of killing wife Jessica (pictured)

According to court reports, the desi Pharmacist who was accused of murdering wife was having affairs with other men on social media site Grindr

 

News accounts of the developing story

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Tulsi Gabbard’s Diwali Greeting comes while White House breaks tradition in 2018

Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician of the Democratic Party serving as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. Ms Gabbard is a key Hindu-American in the US Congress ! Here is her  Diwali Greeting 2018

Ms. Gabbard’s greeting comes after the recent announcement that White House breaks tradition of Diwali celebrations amid midterms

According to an IANS report

US President Donald Trump broke a 15-year tradition of holding formal Diwali celebrations at the White House this year with the festival falling amid the crucial midterm polls.

The Diwali celebration was started by former President George W. Bush in 2003 and was carried on by his successor Barack Obama.

Continuing the tradition, Trump held the celebration at the Oval Office, where he lit a traditional lamp last year.

This year, however, he is caught up in the elections, which took place on Tuesday after a whirlwind of campaigning that ended on Monday.

On Wednesday, he will be tied up dealing with the aftermath of the elections, which saw his Republican Party lose control of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his Diwali greeting issued on Wednesday hailed the contributions of Indian Americans.

“As those celebrating decorate their homes with vibrant lights, I would also like to recognize the achievements of our friends in the United States observing Diwali who make important contributions to our country on a daily basis,” said in his message. – IANS

Also of interest:

Is Sunny Leone – the unlikely role-model benefiting from #MeToo ?

The Me Too movement (#MeToo ) in India has grown out of the international social-media campaign against sexual harassment of  women in workplace. In the past few weeks, a slew of actors, ministers, government officials and other influential super-stars have been at the receiving end of accusations of sexual harassment.

The Indian #MeToo movement has brought the topic of sex into the foreground. And it is perhaps a sign of our times that modern India has accepted an icon of sex, the former porn-star as a Bollywood icon. Karenjit Kaur Vohra, the Canadian-born Indian-American actress and model better known by her stage name Sunny Leone is active in Indian film industry.

Sunny has played roles in independent mainstream events, films and television shows. Her first mainstream appearance was in 2005, when she worked as a red carpet reporter for the MTV Video Music Awards on MTV India. In 2011, she participated in the Indian reality television series Bigg Boss. She also has hosted the Indian reality show Splitsvilla.

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Ms Leone’s transformation from porn-star to mainstream Bollywood has not been universally accepted in India, where modern continues to co-exist with traditional and parochial value systems.  News accounts last week described possible threats to a recent concert in the tech-city of Bengaluru where Ms Leone was staring. According to Times of India

“The pro-Kannada outfit had threatened to disrupt the event. Around 200 policemen in civil dress were deployed at the venue. The KRVYS, an offshoot of pro-Kannada organisation Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, has been opposing the event for two reasons: first, the event would spoil the culture of Bengaluru and second, Sunny Leone was playing the lead role in a multi-lingual movie Veera Mahadevi, a period drama portraying a warrior.”

Even with a few threats and protests, her concerts and public appearances seem to have a strong fan following. After a recent appearance in Bengaluru, media accounts quoted several women techies

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Chitra P, a business analyst with a leading MNC, was quoted saying: “Sunny is fabulous. She is a powerful women’s voice we have today.”

Preethi, a content writer and a fan of Sunny’s dance skills said: “The protests were uncalled for and it was not in the right taste. People must get past her previous career and see her as an artiste.”

Her fan following has also led to several endorsement deals for products ranging from condoms to Desi Ghee (link). It is a sign of our times that a generation of Indians have embraced Ms Leone’s unlikely transformation into Bollywood.

Navaratri and Durga Puja

This weekend culminates the nine-day festival of Navaratri, Dasara and Durga Puja, celebrated by Indians around the world.

Vijayadashami also known as Dasahara, Dusshera, Dasara, Dussehra or Dashain is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. It is observed on the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, the seventh month of the Hindu Luni-Solar Calendar, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October. While the basis of the festival is similar – the worship of Godess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, the mode of celebration varies across communities.

  • Gujaratis – Gujaratis are known for their large dance parties known as ‘garbas’. Many grounds in the city play host to these garba celebrations. “We wear a traditional garment called the ‘chaniya choli,’ which is similar to a ‘lehenga’ but made with cotton fabric.” Performances include songs in praise of goddess Durga. The highlight of their festival is the dancing and singing.
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Students at an American university campus celebrating Garba
  • Marwaris – The Marwaris celebrate the festival of Navratri by worshipping goddess Shakti. The nine different forms of the goddess are worshipped on the rest nine days. “On the ninth day, there is a ceremony known as ‘Kanya Pujan’ where girl children are given traditional delicacies as a sign of respect to the goddess,” says Ekta Poddar, a student. Another ceremony called ‘havan’ is performed to mark the power and grace of Durga. The tenth day is ‘Vijayadasami’, the victory of good over evil, where idols of Ravan are burnt.
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Ram-Lila in Delhi
  • Tamilians – The Tamil community focuses on the ‘golu’ arrangement, or the doll display, during this time.The dolls are arranged on an odd number of steps and depict scenes from the Ramayana or even daily life. People are invited to the houses to view the dolls. The celebrations include singing and dancing.
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Golu, Bombe habba
  • Kannadigas – In Karnataka, Dasara or Vijayadashami is celebrated to commemorate the defeat of Ravana and Durga’s triumph over the demon ‘Mahishasur’. “We also have the practice of doll arrangement, called ‘Bombe habba’. We pay obeisance to goddess Saraswati and do ‘Ayudha Puja’ where we worship machines and other things that make our lives easier,” says Kavya, a resident on KR Puram.
  • Telugus – The community celebrates the Gombe Habba, the practice of setting up doll displays and distributes sweets to visitors. ‘Ayudha Puja’ and worship of the goddess Chamundeshwari on Dashami is also a part of their celebrations.
  • Bengalis – The Bengalis celebrate the festival for five days. On the sixth day, they conduct a ‘visarjan,’ the immersing of goddess Durga in water. The five days are celebrated with multiple pujas in the morning, followed by a community ‘bhog’ (lunch). Cultural programs are organised in the evenings.
  • Assamese – The Assamese people celebrate the festival of Durga Puja as a community. They set up statues of goddess Durga in large grounds, which also have food and gift stalls. Shivankar, a member of the Assam Association says, “On the last four days of the festival, we feast on homemade preparations. The maize crop that we grow is offered to the goddess.”

Love for Indian-Pakistani couple means moving across borders – to UAE

The Indian and Pakistani cricket rivalry has been on display at the Asia Cup 2018 in the United Arab Emirates. While the focus is on cricket, it is also highlighting another aspect of UAE as a home to many cross-border couples from India and Pakistan.

Couples who find love across the bitterly divided border in the subcontinent find it easier to live in UAE than in India or Pakistan. Pakistanis have trouble getting visas for India, and vice versa; and it gets harder every time there is a spurt in violence and upheaval across the border.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence; and relations soured further after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

High-profile couples like the Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik and Indian tennis star  Sania Mirza have a home in Dubai. An Agence France-Presse (APF) interview also featured couples like Kasim Vakkil, an Indian and his Pakistani wife Ghazala who are part of the UAE’s large South Asian community.  “My marriage would not have been possible if we were not living in UAE. Ghazala is from Lahore and I am from Mumbai but living at this neutral venue made our marriage possible.” Kasim told AFP.

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Dubai taxi driver Sunil Manohar, from India’s Karnataka state, married Nunda from Pakistan’s Sindh province after their families met in the UAE. “UAE is a nice place for cross-border families,” he said. “In the past, a few couples were stuck in Pakistan because they were not getting an Indian visa.”

An interesting video article in Khaleej Times also features the lives of such couple:

Many tech savvy couple also converge in popular facebook groups like IndoPakFamiles 

 

Indian man arrested for impersonating U.S Immigration official on social media

This week, Kanwar Sarabjit Singh a 51 year old lawful permanent resident (LPR)  in the United States pleaded guilty for using Facebook and WhatsApp to falsely represent himself as an employee of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mr Singh claimed he worked in the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (USCIS). He offered to obtain ‘genuine US visas’ in exchange for a fee of $3,000 to $4,000, US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud and impersonation of a federal officer and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 14.

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As part of his scheme, Mr Singh created a fake photo identification document pretending to be from the DHS, which he mailed to others in an effort to show that he was capable to obtain US immigration documents.

Mr Singh gained the trust of a local pastor and his church, including elderly members, and falsely represented to them that he owned a small company in India that provided labour for services, including data entry, to two large, international companies and that for a small, up-front investment, they would see a large return on their money.

More details in the press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia

A citizen of India pleaded guilty today to operating a fraud scheme in which he used Facebook and WhatsApp to scam people seeking to purchase United States visas.

According to court documents, Kanwar Sarabjit Singh (aka Sandy Singh), 51, a lawful permanent resident, used Facebook and WhatsApp to falsely represent himself as an employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who worked in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and who could obtain genuine United States visas in exchange for a fee of $3,000 to $4,000. As part of his scheme, Singh created a fake photo identification document purporting to be from DHS, which he emailed to others in an effort to show that he was, in fact, able to obtain United States immigration documents. Singh instructed individuals seeking immigration documents to email him passport photographs, copies of their passports and other personally identifying information and to send him money via overnight delivery service or by wire transfer. After receiving these documents and the requested fee up front, Singh created and emailed fake letters purporting to be from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, which falsely represented that there was an appointment to pick up the requested visa documents. Many of Singh’s victims resided overseas and were impoverished.

In addition to this visa fraud scheme, Singh also admitted to engaging in an investment fraud scheme in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in 2012, in which he defrauded approximately 22 investors of approximately $340,000. Singh gained the trust of a local pastor and his church, including elderly members, and falsely represented to them that he owned a small company in India that provided labor for services, including data entry, to two large, international companies and that for a small, up-front investment, they would see a large return on their money.

80% NRI medical seats vacant even after mop-up counselling 

After two rounds of regular counselling and the final mop-up counselling for MBBS seats in deemed universities, nearly 80% of the seats under NRI category are lying vacant, although almost all seats in the management category have been taken. The universities will now be allowed to admit students to these vacant seats after August 27.
Of the 919 NRI quota seats – 15% of the total seats – 731 seats across India were vacant as on Tuesday, according to the New-Delhi based Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Although 176 students were allotted seats under NRI category in round 1, many did not join. In round 2, a total of 95 students were allotted seats and 58 others were allotted during the mop-up. If any of the 153 students, who were allotted seats in the second round and mop up counselling, did not join the respective colleges, they will have to forfeit Rs 2 lakh deposited at the time of registration with DGHS.
In Tamil Nadu, out of the eight deemed universities, all seats in management quota were allotted at the end of the mop-up round, but barring Sri Ramachandra Medical Universities all colleges had at least 15 seats in the NRI category. Sree Balaji Medical College topped the list with 36 vacant seats and Vinayaka Mission in Salem had the least with 15 seats. “Colleges will now convert these seats to management seats and allot them to students based on their own merit list. There is no guarantee that allotment will be based purely on merit,” said R Seetharaman, a parent, whose son is waiting for MBBS admission this year.
Experts say DGHS, which made it mandatory for students to deposit Rs 2 lakh upfront and made it clear that they would forfeit the sum if they do not join the allotted college, should mandate that unfilled NRI seats would be treated as management/NRI category seats during mop up round. “The universities should not be allowed to convert NRI seats to management after mop-up round. Had the DGHS itself converted it ahead of the mop-up round, all these unfilled NRI seats would have been available for eligible candidates, including NRI candidates. At least next year, this anomaly should be addressed,” said Manickavel Arumugum, a freelance consultant of medical aspirants.
Fees for NRI quota seats is higher than the regular management quota seats. In some institutions, it touches $60,000. College administrators say they will be left with no option but to convert these NRI seats as general quota seats. “We have just two working days to fill up the seats. We have a list of applicants who have cleared NEET but have not got admission in any college. Based on an internal rank list, we will allot seats,” said a senior administrator at ACS Medical College, where 21 NRI seats are vacant.