California backs down partially on caste bias issue, Hindu Right claims victory
The California Department of Employment and Housing filed this case in 2020 based on a complaint from an anonymous employee of the company making it the first reported case of class discrimination in the United States.
This case continued to be seen as confirmation of the existence of a typical South Asian form of discrimination in the United States, and was later cited in support of moves to add the practice to the list of prohibited grounds for prejudice elsewhere in the country such as in Seattle.
The California Department of Civil Rights (CRD) filed its motion for “partial dismissal” in California Superior Court, Santa Clara County on Monday.
“Only the individual defendants have been dismissed,” the department’s press office said in response to a request for clarification. “CRD v. Cisco continues. We will continue to vigorously litigate this matter on behalf of the people of California.”
The lawsuit was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against Cisco System Inc. in 2020 based on a complaint by a Dalit Indian employee of the company alleging caste discrimination against him by two of his supervisors — also of Indian descent — and retaliation alleged when he complained.
The lawsuit is filed against the company – Cisco Systems Inc; and the two moderators – Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kumbila.
The Civil Rights Administration has dropped the allegations against the supervisors, but said its larger case against the company will continue.
“Two Indian Americans endured a nightmare of nearly three years of endless investigations, a brutal internet witch hunt, and a presumption of guilt in the media after CRD sullied their reputations for allegedly engaging in caste discrimination,” said Sohag Shukla, CEO. . Director of the Hindu Foundation of America (HAF), which opposed caste being included among the restricted spaces due to discrimination.
She added, “We are thrilled that Iyer and Combella have been acquitted along with our position that the state has no right to impute crimes to Hindu and Indian Americans simply because of their religion or race.”
HAF was among a group of Hindu American organizations that attempted to prevent the city of Seattle from adding caste to its prohibited list of types of prejudice, and is now also part of an effort to prevent California from adopting legislation banning caste discrimination, the first US state to do so, when, and if such legislation becomes legally.
A debate rages in the American Indian community, joined by other South Asian communities, over the issue of adding caste to the list of several types of prejudice prohibited in the United States, with history/ancestry, religion, color, and race.
HAF, Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, and other right-wing Hindu Americans argue that caste discrimination is culpable, and any law outlawing it here in the US puts a target on the backs of the entire South Asian community, especially Hindus, by portraying them all as financiers. from this practice.
They also argue that caste-based discrimination is covered by existing laws that prohibit all kinds of prejudice and discrimination and that there is no need for a new ban.
The third, and final, argument is that class prejudice in the United States is rare and not as pervasive as it is supposed to be. They questioned statements cited by supporters of the ban.
Others argue that caste discrimination is widely practiced among American communities of South Asian descent – from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal – and that it should be outlawed. No single community is being targeted, and if HAF and other similar organizations agree and acknowledge that casteism is a reprehensible practice, they should not oppose banning it.
California Senator Aisha Wahab is among the ban’s supporters and has introduced legislation to make the state the first to put the cult on a ban list. Keshama Sawant, an Indian-American woman on the council who made Seattle the first city to ban caste, is one of the most outspoken supporters of the movement pushing America to ban caste.
Yachuan / Sha