California Senate passes Bill to ban caste discrimination

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CALIFORNIA: As a step closer, the California state Senate passed a Bill to ban caste-based discrimination in the state on Thursday. The law, approved by a vote of 34-1, will provide individuals with legal options to address allegations of caste bias and discrimination in housing, employment, education and other contexts, CNN reported.

Those who have suffered systemic harm as a result of caste bias and prejudice are explicitly protected by SB 403’s provisions. Additionally, it establishes clear legal repercussions for anyone who tries to escape accountability or responsibilities for condoning or taking part in caste-based violence.

Seattle was the first US city to include caste protections in its anti-discrimination statutes earlier this year, and several colleges and universities have taken similar steps. Advocates for caste-oppressed individuals have said that institutions and workplaces are ill-equipped to deal with caste bias, which has been documented in recent years among South Asians in the US, according to CNN.

The California law was proposed in March by Democratic state senator Aisha Wahab, who, at the time, told CNN that caste was a problem for her residents in her area, which includes portions of the East Bay and Silicon Valley. Wahab, an Afghan American, claimed that while growing up in Fremont, a city in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, she saw the toll caste took on other families.

A coalition of organisations from various religious and caste backgrounds also backed the bill. The California State Assembly will now consider the bill. (ANI)

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