“California Senate Approves Anti-Caste Discrimination Bill: HfHR Applauds Landmark Progress in Safeguarding Dalits and Caste-Oppressed Individuals”

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By Qayam Masumi, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: Sacramento, CA (May 11, 2023) – The California Senate’s approval of Senate Bill 403 (SB403) with an overwhelmingly positive vote of 34 to 1 has garnered commendation from Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). This significant milestone signifies progress in the legislative process aimed at including caste as a protected category within the existing Unruh Civil Rights Act, ultimately offering much-needed protection to individuals who endure discrimination based on their caste.

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The introduction of SB403 by California Senator Aisha Wahab marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing battle against caste discrimination in various spheres such as workplaces, educational institutions, and places of worship across the United States. By addressing the deeply entrenched issue of caste discrimination, the legislation endeavors to combat this injustice prevalent not only in Silicon Valley but also within the state’s university system and beyond.

HfHR, an influential organization dedicated to upholding human rights, expresses its appreciation for the California Senate’s unwavering commitment demonstrated through the passage of this critical bill. This endorsement serves as a testament to the collective effort in promoting social justice and establishing an inclusive society that values individuals irrespective of their caste or background.

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By advancing SB403, California sets an inspiring example for other states and nations to follow. This legislation sends a resolute message that caste-based discrimination will not be tolerated and underscores the state’s determination to foster a fair and equitable society.

As SB403 progresses through the legislative process, it is anticipated to gain further support and recognition, drawing attention to its potential to dismantle caste-based discrimination and shape a more inclusive future within California. The bill’s passage signifies a significant stride forward in the fight against caste discrimination and paves the way for a more just society for all.

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Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director of Hindus for Human Rights, expressed the significance of the moment, stating, “This is a historic moment in the fight against caste-based discrimination. We commend the passing of SB403 by the California Senate and urge the California Assembly to pass this bill without delay. Discrimination based on caste violates human rights and must be eliminated wherever it exists.”

This move follows the Seattle City Council’s historic legislation banning caste discrimination earlier this year. Resolutions to designate caste as a protected category have also been passed by the California Democratic Party, the California State University system, the Alphabet Workers Union, as well as tech giants like Apple and Cisco.

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HfHR Board Member and co-founder Raju Rajagopal added, “As a Californian and a member of Hindus for Human Rights, I am proud that our state is showing the way to the rest of the world that there will be no tolerance for caste discrimination in the workplace and educational institutions. The passage of SB403 in the California Senate is a victory for all those who have faced caste discrimination in South Asia and are likely to face it in America.”

HfHR urges the California Assembly to pass the bill and Governor Newsom to sign it into law, while also working towards the eradication of caste discrimination in the United States.

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Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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