After banning caste-based discrimination in Seattle, now this issue is also hot in Toronto, Canada, where one faction is opposing caste discrimination, but the other faction is against this type of ban.
Seattle last month became the first city in the US to ban race-based discrimination. Indian American leader Kshama Sawant introduced a motion in the Seattle City Council to include caste in its non-discrimination policy, which has been passed.
The resolution of Sawant, an upper-caste Hindu leader, was passed by six votes to one in Seattle’s House, the City Council. This vote result could have far-reaching implications on the issue of race-based discrimination in America.
The racial discrimination proposal was placed before the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for consideration, but on March 8 the board referred it to the Ontario Human Rights Commission for review. The board said it did not have expertise in the matter.
“If the answer is ‘yes’ to this proposal, it would be in the best interest of all school students in Toronto,” Seattle City Councilor Sawant said in a letter to TDSB members. Students can experience caste discrimination in many ways in the educational environment. They may face casteist slurs, discrimination in social and online environment etc.
On the other hand, the ‘Coalition of Hindus of North America’ (COHNA), which is opposing the proposal, said that the Canadian South Asian community is strongly opposing it due to the identification of one community.
With the help of COHNA Canada, members of the community have sent more than 21,000 emails and made several phone calls to the board of trustees, said a media release here. Protesters outside the TDSB office in North York also opposed the proposal.
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