Outlaw caste discrimination in UK, peers tell government

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Discrimination on the grounds of caste should be outlawed in the UK,
peers said as they defeated the government in a vote in the House of
Lords

Peers backed an Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill amendment to add caste to race discrimination laws.

The government opposed the move, saying it had set up an education programme to tackle caste discrimination.

But peers said this was not enough, and the law needed to be changed. The government was defeated by 256 to 153.

The defeat was the second of the day for the government, with peers also challenging the government over the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in promoting a more equal society.

Ministers want to remove a general duty on the commission underlining the need to protect human rights and promote equal opportunity for all in society, but peers blocked the move.

‘Racial prejudice’

As the debate took place, more than 400 members of the Dalit community – so-called untouchables – protested outside Parliament.

The Bishop of Oxford Lord Harries of Pentregarth – who introduced the amendment – said the British Dalit community had reached 480,000 and evidence showed they suffered discrimination in education, employment and the provision of public goods and service.

Written By: Kayte Rath
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

19 COMMENTS

    • The government opposed the move, saying it had set up an education programme to tackle caste discrimination.

      It’s a good idea, but obviously laws must be put into place to prevent further caste discrimination until this education program makes them obsolete, if that even happens at all.

    • In reply to #2 by Kim Probable:

      How do people even know what caste other people are?

      For everyone outside the Hindu or Seikh community I think the answer is zilch Kim but it at least sets a precedent that they can’t carry on the same form of discrimination that was alright in the old country within their own community.
      “The government opposed the move, saying it had set up an education programme to tackle caste discrimination” is just government speak for things aren’t really going to change, one of the rare cases where the Lords actually did some good in forcing action.

    • Hindus are entrenched in the idea of caste. In most parts of the country, people don’t interact with other castes. And there are millions of these caste and sub-caste groups.

      Along with the birth certificate, a community certificate is issued. The community certificate states which caste you are from. You need this when you apply for college admissions and civil service. Castes have their origins in Hindu faith and I am sure most of you know what these castes are. The affirmative action plan categorizes different castes into four major groups

      Forward Castes/Open Quota (FC/OQ)

      Backward Castes (BC)

      Other Backward Castes/Most Backward Castes (OBC/MBC)

      Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST)

      One can change their religion but their caste cannot be changed. One can choose to give up their caste (like me), which would mean you will be considered as OQ candidate. Which means, your college admission is purely based on your academic performance (board exams). You will not be eligible for any affirmative action quota.

      Majority of Indians fall under category 3 & category 4. Various caste groups lobby to move their caste into category 3 or category 4, so they can get more reservation under affirmative action plan.

      This sort of affirmative action has caused a lot of conflict among various caste groups. Since some groups get better support from the government, the others (FC/BC) tend to take it out on those groups when it comes to private sector jobs and while interacting with them in the society. FC/BC consider MBC/OBC/SC/ST as people who exploit the system and as those gain unfair advantage due to affirmative action. And the historical notion of the HINDU RELIGION that the lower castes being unclean, unworthy and unintelligent. While still a lot of MBC/OBC/SC/ST live under abject poverty and have anger towards the upper groups because of discrimination in private sector and in religious contexts.

      So to sum it up, its a load of horse manure.

      In reply to #2 by Kim Probable:

      How do people even know what caste other people are?

  1. The Lords……..a priceless anachronism that we hold on to because we don’t know how to let go of them and it looks like they are about to outlaw themselves. Being thought a fool is one thing to provide a finely worked example is another.

    Now down to practicalities. How to enforce it? Caste police? Draft in special squads of hindus who are sure to act with utter equanimity is rooting out caste discrimination?

    We have laws which forbid certain cultural practices which have never resulted in a single prosecution. This one will go the same way.

    • Hmm. I am more optimistic about this move. This can have a great effect overall in combating hinduism in the west. I hope EU, US, Canada and Australia follows suite and outlaw this explicitly.

      Hindu temples in the west are run exclusively by male priests of upper caste. Employment regulations can now force these temples. Personally, I want the media and the public to treat hinduism the same way they treat BNP in UK or NDP in Germany. “Either change your views or prepared to be mocked for your bigoted views.”

      In reply to #7 by Vorlund:

      The Lords……..a priceless anachronism that we hold on to because we don’t know how to let go of them and it looks like they are about to outlaw themselves. Being thought a fool is one thing to provide a finely worked example is another.

      Now down to practicalities. How to enforce it? Caste police? Draft in special squads of hindus who are sure to act with utter equanimity is rooting out caste discrimination?

      We have laws which forbid certain cultural practices which have never resulted in a single prosecution. This one will go the same way.

    • In reply to #7 by Vorlund:

      Now down to practicalities. How to enforce it? Caste police? Draft in special squads of hindus who are sure to act with utter equanimity is rooting out caste discrimination?

      We have laws which forbid certain cultural practices which have never resulted in a single prosecution. This one will go the same way.

      I think the point of this law is the person discriminated against can use it. If by cultural practices you mean FGM then it’s harder for a child to take their parents to court — particularly when they are very young. So I think this law could be useful.

      Michael

  2. The government opposed the move, saying it had set up an education programme to tackle caste discrimination.

    But peers said this was not enough, and the law needed to be changed. The government was defeated by 256 to 153

    It’s good to see the upper house doing something useful, while this government focuses on increasing privilege and reinforcing the abuse of the ordinary citizens!

    I see Osborne has just trotted off to Europe to oppose the proposed limitations on the payment of executive bonuses to the bankers caste!

    Fancy the poor souls having to manage on only an income, only a doubled income, – or with shareholders permission a tripled income!

    Osborne like a Trrooo Tory is defending the bankers from these “restrictive abuses”!!!
    (After all! Think of what these bankers and their political stooges, have done for the rest of us in recent years?)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21661089

    Chancellor George Osborne stood isolated after European Union finance ministers vowed to press on with proposals to curb bankers’ bonuses.

    He told a meeting of EU finance ministers that he could not back the plans, which he fears could damage London’s financial centre.

    The EU is proposing to cap bonuses to 100% of a banker’s annual salary, or to 200% if shareholders approve.
    There will be further talks, but ministers will now finalise details.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr Osborne said Britain already had the toughest regime in Europe for bankers’ pay and bonuses and that a cap could “have a perverse effect”.

    He said after the meeting: “I cannot support the proposal currently on the table.”

    The City of London fears the rules will drive away talent and restrict growth.

  3. The House of Commons won’t support it because it’ll cost them votes. The same applies to Sharia Law; the Lords voted against it but the Commons caved.

    Hence my change of mind regarding the reform of the House of Lords; it needs to remain a counter to the House of Commons.

    Further to which, multi-culturalism is dead; what’s needed is inter-culturalism.

  4. I’m against the house of lords on every democratic principle but……….

    …Very little of sense comes out of the British Parliament other than from the HoL and it thus exposes the greatest danger to democracy,one known since Aristophanes castigated Cleon in his comedies of the 5th century BCE – “Demogoguery”. The Commons is full of elected demagogues because the get elected by pandering to the lowest prejudices of a significant number of easily swayed (by their own selfishness) floating voters. The HoL on the other hand does not have to worry about being elected and can therefore ignore the zeitgeist and act with personal integrity. The problem is though that the HoL includes many members placed there by the Demagogue leaders of the political parties represented in the HoC.
    And Richard Harries former Bishop of Oxford is on very amiable terms with RD. He’s the likeable sort of churchman i.e the “Atheistic Anglican”. Also I believe a scientist and certainly always interesting to listen to.

    • In reply to #18 by Virgin Mary:

      Oh who cares? Minorities are exempt from British laws so what bloody difference will it make?

      “Said a Government spokesman”? Just being true doesn’t make it wrong to try surely.

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