After Seattle in the US, the “caste conflict” has now spread to Toronto in Canada, where two parties are involved, one supporting a restriction on caste-based discrimination and the other opposing such a move.
After the unanimous passage of a motion by an Indian-American economist and politician to include caste in its ‘non-discrimination policy,’ Seattle last month became the first US city to criminalize caste discrimination.
The Seattle City Council voted six to one in favor of the motion that upper-caste Hindu Kshama Sawant had proposed. The outcome of the vote may have significant repercussions for the American caste discrimination issue.
The proposal was successfully presented to the “Toronto District School Board” for consideration by those who support caste discrimination. The Ontario Human Rights Commission was referred to by the board as an impartial observer to investigate and evaluate the matter at its meeting on March 8. In doing so, the board acknowledged that it lacks sufficient knowledge on this subject.
“The wisest course of action for all Toronto public school children is to vote in favor of this proposition. In a letter to the TDSB, Seattle City Council member Sawant stated that caste discrimination can manifest itself in a variety of ways for students in a learning environment, such as employing casteist slurs, excluding from places of the dominant caste, and mistreating in online and social situations.
Contrarily, the “Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA),” which has been opposing it, claimed that targeting one community on these generally inclusive criteria has led to strong opposition within the “Canadian South Asian diaspora.”