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Aug 06 2013

Controversy Over Prevention of Caste Atrocities and Equality Act in the UK (Part 3)

(Previous parts: Part 1, Part 2.)

Now to protect their own fair skin (which they are really proud of), the AHO are suggesting that the government and the members of House of Lords themselves are being racist. They are claiming,

In April of this year there was no AHO but after Lord Harries and his racist colleagues publically(sic) denigrated our Community, discriminating against us in the most despicable manner, the British Hindu Community turned its attention to this task and the AHO was born…

It wouldn’t be surprising to observe how they want to distract the UK media’s attention from the real issue at hand. By suggesting that the members of House of Lords who included Caste in the Equality act, as committing racism and continuing a colonial legacy, they wish to hide centuries old barbaric traditions. Such is their brazenness.

The current population of those of exterior caste descent is said to be somewhere between 50,000[i] to 400,000[ii]. While the population of Hindus in England and Wales is more than 800,000 according to the 2011 census. Most of the migrants coming from India who now have settled down in western countries are obviously from upper castes as their socio-economic privilege accumulated in India over generations could afford them such a living. They have accumulated wealth and created social capital of their own to be able to keep the exterior castes socially excluded. Harassment in school, employment, provision of goods and services, and even religious places still continues. They are a minority among minority. The atrocities are being conducted for last few decades and such law cannot be delayed any further considering that even children of exterior caste descent are bullied in UK schools.

The current scenario is just the tip of the iceberg. The real questions will emerge when more in-depth research is done on the issue and the government is forced to implement the law stringently. How will they differentiate the oppressed from oppressor? How to identify vulnerable castes? Will they borrow the methods from India which do not seem to be providing justice to victims? Will they conduct a caste census in the UK? How will the Hindu elites respond to this? One of the member organisations of the AHO is the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association. Can the upper caste Hindus in the UK police and their cronies be trusted with prevention of caste atrocities? Even some non-Hindu, non-Asian, white government officials and members of parliament seem to be against the inclusion of caste in the Equality Act. This includes the Minister of Equality Helen Grant. Member of House of Lords, Eric Avebury who along with his colleagues has been very instrumental in getting caste included in Equality act has said yesterday (2nd August 2013) that:

But since then, Equality Minister Helen Grant has said plainly that she doesn’t agree with the proposal, defying the Cabinet Office Code which says that once a decision is made, Ministers have to support it.

She has ignored requests for a meeting with organisations representing the Dalits, the potential victims of caste discrimination.

When she did meet peers on May 14 to discuss progress on implementing the provision which had been agreed by Parliament, she said she had been too busy with same-sex marriage to think about it.

But she found time to see a large delegation from anti-legislation groups.

Lord Avebury is very optimistic about the inclusion of caste in the Equality act and its implementation, but that will not happen at least until the summer of 2015 and with a huge political drama in the preceding elections involving Tories and upper castes with their political donations.

Until then, the fight is to be continued both within and outside the UK. If the citizens of the UK care about a healthy future for their country, then they must support the ongoing efforts to make the Equality Law stronger and restrain the anomaly of the caste system in their country.

Dalit Solidarity Network UK

D-Lights

(Concluded.)

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Sunil

    // One of the member organisations of the AHO is the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association.//
    This is a good example of how power and oppression are structural in nature, more than individuals holding bigoted views. Btw this article shows just how heavily into Hindu dogmatism the MPHA is: http://www.hinducouncil.net/index.php/news-and-media/circulars/106-metropolitan-police-hindu-association-diwali-event-new-scotland-yard-8-november-2012.

  2. 2
    Swatistar

    The hypocrisy of the Hindu immigrants who sought protection in the form of the Equality Act, in their opposition to inclusion of caste discrimination within its parameters have exposed that they don’t want to give up the privileges that accrue to them by hanging on to the most barbaric dogmas of their religion.

  3. 3
    Pen

    Even some non-Hindu, non-Asian, white government officials and members of parliament seem to be against the inclusion of caste in the Equality Act

    I can’t say for sure why they have that attitude but my guess is that they are, quite understandably, caste-blind. And they think the best thing is to let everyone else evolve into a similar post-caste consciousness, rather than confirming the existence of caste by embedding it in our laws. I suppose an explicit law could indeed spread caste consciousness to a large population who had not previously recognised it. The problem is that for the people who can see it, caste exists de facto, embedded in people’s names and appearances. On a related note, why don’t we seem to have the related concept of class in the Equality Act? Odd that, isn’t it?

  4. 4
    Sunil

    @Pen, and unrelated to OP – I went to college in the UK and the class prejudice there was a shock to me. I just wasn’t expecting it at all. E.g. the whole thing about the accents; only when I went there did I discover that all Britons don’t talk like people on the BBC or in films, and those were considered “desirable” accents. :(

  5. 5
    Sumit Chavan

    @ Pen, What you said is a usual argument given in India by those who criticise affirmative action and protective laws. Caste has to be eradicated from mind, not from legal papers. If we don’t acknowledge the reality, how will we change it?

  6. 6
    Pen

    @Sumit Agreed, although, my point was that in Britain, caste has never existed in the minds of 92%+ of the population so from their point of view it’s being established for the first time legally. Not only do you need to create the new category in law but with this demographic you need to teach a large non-Hindu public the existence and operation of the very thing you want to eradicate. I hope caste does make it into the equality act but getting it applied in a broadly caste-blind society will be another struggle, I suspect.

    @Sunil, hah, so you discovered our secrets? What you say is very true.

  7. 7
    Harbans Lal Badhan

    Indian Caste System is more dangerous and worse than Racial Discrimination and slavery system. Indian Caste System is not only an Indian social evil, but also a mental disease and mental sickness. Indian Caste System should be banned, at any cost by the Act of Parliament. Otherwise it (Indian caste System) will spoil, kill and slaughter the democratic and secular character of the modern and civilized society of U.K and Europe. Indian Caste System is an unnatural and unscientific man made institution created by the anti social elements. Indian Caste System is an enemy of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. It (Indian Caste System) is also an enemy of Social Justice, Social Equality, Human Rights and Fundamental Rights (social, economic, political, religious and educational rights) of an individual. Indian Caste System is a great challenge to democracy, secularism, unity an integrity, and the progress and development of state and society. To believe in caste system is a crime against humanity. Indian Caste System is not only a inhuman but also a very painful . Indian Caste System should be banned at the earliest.

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