Kopar Khairane
National

The governor of California vetoes a law against caste discrimination, calling it “unnecessary”

<p>Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, rejected a historic anti-caste discrimination measure that had just been approved by the state assembly, calling it “unnecessary” and pointing out that the US state already had laws that prohibit caste-based discrimination.<img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-224030″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-750×422.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com the governor of california vetoes a law against caste discrimination calling it un” width=”1393″ height=”784″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-750×422.jpg 750w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-1024×576.jpg 1024w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-768×432.jpg 768w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-1536×864.jpg 1536w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-390×220.jpg 390w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un-150×84.jpg 150w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/theindiaprint.com-the-governor-of-california-vetoes-a-law-against-caste-discrimination-calling-it-un.jpg 1600w” sizes=”(max-width: 1393px) 100vw, 1393px” title=”The governor of California vetoes a law against caste discrimination, calling it "unnecessary" 12″></p>
<p>A significant portion of the Indian-American community, who were opposed to the law on the same grounds, has praised the governor’s action.</p>
<p>“In California, we believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, where they come from, who they love, or where they live,” Newsom said in a statement on Saturday.</p>
<p>Because of this, California already forbids discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, handicap, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other traits, and state law specifically states that these civil rights protections will be applied broadly. This law is superfluous since caste-based discrimination is already illegal under these current categories, he said.</p>
<p>The law, known as “SB403,” was recently approved by a significant majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate of the California State Assembly. As a result, Newsom said that he “cannot sign” the bill.</p>
<p>If the Governor had approved the measure, California would have been the first US state to legally outlaw caste-based discrimination.</p>
<p>Democratic state senator Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan American elected to the California Legislature, filed the measure in March.</p>
<p>The law includes “caste” and other aspects of ancestry when defining “ancestry” for the purposes of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Unruh Act, and the Education Code.</p>
<p>The bill’s opponents hailed it as historic and said that the governor’s action had thwarted several attempts to attack the state’s Hindu and South Asian populations.</p>
<p>Castefiles, an educational platform that exposes incorrect caste and racial narratives in the media, responded to the development by describing the action as historic.</p>
<p>“Governor Newsom has decided to reject SB403, which is California effort to tarnish the Civil Rights Act by introducing the divisive word “CASTE” to it. Newsom has acknowledged the suffering and struggle of the little South Asian community. The Vox populi that battled to be heard among the deafening noise of false caste narratives won today’s election in America, it said.</p>
<p>The Hindu American Foundation’s Samir Kalra stated, “With the stroke of his pen, Governor Newsom has averted a civil rights and constitutional disaster that would have put a target on hundreds of thousands of Californians simply because of their ethnicity or their religious identity, as well as create a slippery slope of facially discriminatory laws.”</p>
<p>Leading Democrat Ajay Bhutoria thanked Newsom for vetoing the measure and called it a “momentous development” in a statement.</p>
<p>Bhutoria from California and Rakesh Kapur from Boston pleaded with the governor to reject the law at a recent appearance at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) event in Chicago.</p>
<p>They informed the governor in Chicago last month that vetoing the SB403 Caste Bill was the proper course of action, highlighting the negative effects it may have on the neighborhood.</p>
<p>“It is obvious that this law was redundant and superfluous, and I am happy that our conversations in Chicago were successful. The veto of this measure is evidence of the value of productive discussion and cooperation, according to Bhutoria.</p>
<p>“The whole #HinduAmerican community’s efforts, as well as those of the many organizations, temples, companies, and supporters that opposed profiling, have culminated in this. Coalition of Hindus of North America said, “We rose above the falsehoods, the insinuations, and the outlandish allegations – and we triumphed.</p>
<p>“Thousands of Californians wrote, phoned, and texted their politicians as part of this campaign, which included hundreds of volunteers who showed up in person, dozens of organizations, and thousands of individuals. Proof that nothing is insurmountable if we get together and act, stated CoHNA.</p>
<p>The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora (FIIDS)’s Khanderao Kand congratulated Newsom for making “this historic and correct” choice.</p>
<p>“I reject all and any forms of discrimination, but as the governor stated, California law already covers all forms of discrimination. In addition, this bill would have resulted in ethnic and facial profiling, making it difficult for businesses to operate, especially in the tech sector,” he added.</p>
<p>Americans for Hindus, a newly created organization, said the law was not neutral on the surface.</p>
<p>It thanked the governor for vetoing the measure, saying that it “relied on misleading narratives, strawman arguments, and a questionable survey that actively encouraged falsification of data.”</p>
<p>While the governor intellectually backed the law, according to Deelip Mhaske, head of the Foundation for Human Horizon, and a well-known Ambedkarite, he was opposed to anything that would further split the Indian-American community or foster anti-Indian feelings.</p>
<p>As a result, he stated, “He vetoed the law, not because he opposed the legislation in and of itself, but because he was worried about dividing elements hijacking the movement.</p>
<p>Mhaske claims that when the California Assembly approved the legislation, a number of pro-bill organizations went on a hunger strike, which prompted an inquiry into the participants, particularly Equality Lab.</p>
<p>“Concerns were raised that some groups were using the bill as a means to promote financial interests, as well as fostering divisive anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiments within the Indian community in America,” he added, praising the governor’s choice to veto the legislation.</p>
<p>President of the Ambedkar-Phule Network of American Dalits and Bahujans, Vaishali V, praised Newsom for recognizing the bill’s shortcomings and how it would negatively affect South Asians, particularly the marginalized populations.</p>
<p>“As the governor of California correctly noted, all incidents of discrimination are already covered under California’s civil rights statute. We think that the primary purpose of this law was to stereotype Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and other South Asian cultures.</p>
<p>“While we appreciate the veto, we recognize that nothing will restore the life of our leader Milind Makwana, who was the voice of the voiceless and the driving force behind the opposition to SB-403 Nothing will undo the grief and loss that this law has brought upon the families of the marginalized populations, according to Vaishali.</p>
<p>Following the governor’s decision to reject bill SB403, Hindu Parents expressed their tremendous relief and thanks, saying that this major decision stands as a beacon against bias, discrimination, and false information about Hinduism and its adherents in California.</p>
<p>With this advancement, our children may anticipate a future free from excessive stereotyping and profiling based on perceptions. This guarantees that kids may practice their religion in harmony, with pride, and free from the ominous specters of colonial-era bigotry, according to Hindu Parents.</p>
<p>“While we rejoice at this triumph, we are aware that there is more work to be done. It is still problematic how Hinduism and Hindu-Americans are portrayed, particularly in educational resources. We hope that California will confront these ingrained prejudices and preconceptions in its curricula. When education acknowledges Hinduism’s vast variety and historical achievements, true reconciliation may be accomplished, according to the group that represents Hindu parents.</p>
<p>“It is our collective responsibility to stand against all manifestations of hatred, bullying, and discrimination,” it said.</p>
<p>Yogi Chug, a prominent Indian American, said that Governor Newsom’s rejection of SB403 was the result of years of work by the Indian-American community to promote the restrictions of the original measure as written.</p>
<p>Iterating through different iterations in the California assembly, he remarked, “one must applaud the relentless effort of so many community members who diligently made the case for ensuring that no one is singled out or profiled.”</p>
<p>The most important thing is to keep the Indian-American community involved and aware of their potential as a responsible and significant voice in the American political system. With the greatest humility and purpose, we must concentrate on this continuous political journey, Chug stated.<br />
Even though Governor Newsom has temporarily rejected the measure, the caste equality movement still sees this as a victory, according to Equality Lab, which has steadfastly pushed for its adoption. It claimed that SB403 was the first anti-caste discrimination measure to pass the California legislature entirely.</p>
<p>“We are really pleased of the strength and tenacity caste-oppressed people in the state have shown in their support for SB403. Even though the governor’s veto is tragic, it does not diminish the amazing democratic strength that our communities demonstrated. Thenmozhi Soundararajan, executive director of Equality Labs, said, “We accomplished the impossible.</p>
<p>The rejection of SB 403, which would have outlawed caste discrimination in California, by Governor Newsom has left SALDEF’s executive director, Kiran Kaur Gill, saying that they are very unhappy.</p>
<p>“This veto is a lost chance to defend millions of Californians against a sort of prejudice that is pervasive in our culture. But we won’t give up our struggle for a more fair and equitable society, and we’ll keep working to make California the first state to outlaw caste-based discrimination,” Gill added.</p>
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