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Toronto school board recognises Hindu caste discrimination in Canada

Toronto’s school board has become
the first in Canada to recognise that Hindu caste discrimination
exists in the city’s schools and has asked a provincial human
rights body to help in creating a framework to address the

The Toronto District School Board on Wednesday voted in
favour of a motion to that effect, which was introduced by board
trustee Yalini Rajakulasingam. Sixteen trustees voted in favour
of the motion and five voted against it.

The move addresses an issue important to the area’s South
Asian diaspora, particularly the Indian and Hindu communities.

It comes weeks after Seattle became the first US city to
outlaw caste discrimination after a city council vote.

“This motion is not about division, it is about creating
healing and empowering communities and providing them safer
schools that students deserve,” Rajakulasingam said.

Rajakulasingam called for a partnership between the human
rights commission of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province,
and Toronto’s school board.

READ MORE: Seattle becomes first US city to ban caste discrimination

READ MORE: Canada academics tell of death, rape threats over work on India far-right


India’s caste system is among the world’s oldest forms of rigid social stratification.

The caste system dates back thousands of years and allows
many privileges to upper castes but represses lower castes.

Dalit community is on the lowest rung of the harsh Hindu caste system
and have been treated as “untouchables.”

Caste discrimination was outlawed in India over 70 years
ago, yet bias persists, according to several studies in recent
years, including one that found people from lower castes were
underrepresented in higher-paying jobs.

Even though India has banned untouchability, Dalits still
face widespread abuse across that country, where their attempts
at upward social mobility have at times been violently put down.

Debate over the caste system’s hierarchy is contentious in
India and abroad, with the issue intertwined with religion.

people say discrimination is now rare. Indian government
policies reserving seats for lower-caste students at top Indian
universities have helped many land tech jobs in the West in
recent years.

Activists opposing caste discrimination say it is no different from other forms of discrimination like racism and hence should be outlawed.

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READ MORE: A silent invasion: How Hindutva infiltrated US politics

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