The UK’s Indian Diaspora community are going head to head as the Government’s consultation on caste discrimination legislation is extended. In several media reports groups that are pro and anti the introduction of legislation against caste discrimination in the UK, are arguing about the impact of such a move.
IDSN member the Dalit Solidarity Network – UK (DSN-UK) has been campaigning alongside other UK human rights and Dalit organisations, for the introduction of legislation against caste-based discrimination for many years. As it stands, victims do not have adequate opportunities for legal redress within the existing legislation. On the other side, UK Hindu groups are arguing that caste discrimination does not exist in the UK Indian diaspora community and that introducing the word caste into legislation would be divisive. This despite the Government itself publishing a report evidencing that caste discrimination does exist in the UK diaspora.
There is however one thing that both sides agree on, and that is the structure and formulation of the consultation is far too technical and therefore lay people have a very hard time understanding the terminology and difficulty in participating in it.
As a result of a specific request from DSN-UK and a consortium of organisations and leading academics, the Government have extended the consultation deadline till the 18th September 2017. Groups on both sides have set up templates advising people on how they can understand and complete the consultation questionnaire.
In the meantime, several reports of caste discrimination in the UK have been published in the UK and Indian media.
“Caste in the UK is a very sophisticated social construct. It isn’t overtly violent because that would not be tolerated. Instead, it mostly centres around the victimisation and harassment of people based on their caste in public spheres – like schools and places of work.” Said Satpal Muman, from Castewatch UK, commenting in Indian media outlet – Firstpost.
A joint appeal and website, urging relevant actors to fill in the consultation questionnaire and offering guidance, has been launched by the consortium of human rights organisations in the UK – including the Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK).
Please fill out the questionnaire here (from the DSN-UK website) before the 18th September:
Guidelines and FAQs – all to be found on our dedicated website www.casteintheuk.org.
If you are yet to complete the consultation questionnaire please go to the above website and also for direct access to the consultation click here https://consult.education.gov.uk/government-equalities-office/caste-in-great-britain-and-equality-law-1/.
Some of the key things you need to know:
- The deadline for the consultation is 18 September 2017.
- If you are struggling to complete the questionnaire the guidance note will become useful. Where there are some suggested answers, which you should put in your own words, keeping to the max 100 words as required.
- If you do not have time, please ensure that you at least complete the 4 mandatory questions: Q5 – Strongly Disagree; Q12a – Strongly Agree; Q12b – Strongly Disagree; Q16 – Option 2 to add caste to the Equality Act 2010.
We also encourage you to follow and tweet the Twitter handle @Casteintheuk and visit, like and share the dedicated Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CasteintheUK/.
Links to media coverage:
Caste discrimination: Why won’t the government legislate? (Politics.co.uk)
Hindu groups in UK hit back at British Government’s plans to ban caste-based discrimination“ (The Wire)
Divisions within Indian diaspora as UK conducts public consultation into caste law (FirstPost)
Why is the UK government wheeling back on legislation against caste discrimination? (OpenDemocracy)