Monday, 23 January 2012

Jay Leno attracts wrath of US Sikhs

Indian officials have expressed anger at a comment by US talk show host and comedian Jay Leno about the Golden Temple of Amritsar; the shrine considered the centre of the Sikh religion.  
In a skit for Leno’s long-running ‘The Tonight Show’ the thick-jowled comedian showed the Temple as the summer home of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Mr Romney has faced questions over alleged tax evasion in recent days and many Sikhs are angry the Temple has been depicted as a place for the rich.  
The Sikh community has launched an online petition and an Indian minister called the comments "objectionable".  Indian External Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said the Indian embassy in the US would take up the matter with the State Department, according to the Press Trust of India.  
Mr Ravi added, "Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others... This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display."
The online petition organised by members of the US Sikh community says Leno has been guilty of derogatory comments on Sikhs before. It adds that "Jay Leno's racist comments need to be stopped right here".
Petition signatory Simran Kaur says: "Jay Leno must apologise and promise not to make any direct or oblique references to Sikhs or their places of worship."
Leno has not yet commented on the matter.
Mr Romney has been criticised by rival presidential candidates over his reluctance to release taxation records, which will reveal his earnings and the taxes he pays.
On Sunday he agreed to release his income tax records for 2010 and estimates for 2011.

- Vijitha Alles

Sonia Deol to leave BBC Asian Network

Popular radio presenter Sonia Deol – host of the mid-morning show on the BBC Asian Network – is to call it a day, the station announced today.
Ms Deol is reportedly leaving the digital network and heading to Vancouver, Canada where she is set to settle down after getting married.  Her last show will be broadcast 2nd March 2012. 
Sonia said: "It's with mixed emotions that I announce I'm leaving the BBC Asian Network. Although it's a very happy time for me and I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life, I am going to dearly miss my fantastic radio family, both on and off-air. We've been through so much together over the years and shared some fantastic achievements. I'm proud of the fact that we've made the station the most listened to Asian service in the country."
Vijay Sharma, Head of the BBC Asian Network, said: "I would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to Sonia from all of us, for her wonderful contribution to the Asian Network. Her understanding of our Asian audience has been a real asset to the station over the years and she has always connected with them in an authentic and sensitive way. I am sure that there are projects in the future where we would love to see her on stage or behind the microphone for the Asian Network, keeping that link with our audience who are certainly going to miss her."
Having started her career with the BBC Asian Network in 1996, Sonia has been a constant presence at the station, leaving occasionally for short breaks to work elsewhere in the BBC or in the commercial world. Whilst on the network, she hosted a variety of programmes, including its daily discussion show, breakfast, documentaries and her current mid-morning show.
She has been an ambassador for the station on stage, during numerous Summer Melas and has hosted many of the network's partnered concerts, including Asha Bhosle and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition to presenting many of the station's In Conversation, Sonia has also brought the audience exclusive interviews with a host of Asian names, including the only interview with Mirza Tahir Hussain after his release from Pakistan's death row.
Sonia has also presented a range of programmes across BBC TV and Radio, including Network East, BBC Breakfast, Heaven and Earth, The Big Questions, The Politics Show, BBC London Radio and BBC Radio 4.
Sonia is currently presenting BBC Asian Network Gold on BBC's Red Button until Sunday 29 January - iconic Asian music from over four decades.
A new mid-morning presenter will be announced in due course.
- Poonam Joshi