California Governor vetoes anti-caste discrimination law


By Kenneth Tiven

Over a weekend dominated by political news in America and wars in Israel and Ukraine, activists in California were handed more disappointment to learn that the state's governor vetoed an anti-caste discrimination law passed by the state assembly nearly a month ago.

Its sponsors wanted to augment and hi-light prohibitions of religious caste discrimination, technically illegal for Hindus in India since 1948.

Governor Gavin Newsom explained his veto, calling the bill unnecessary because California “already prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other characteristics, and
state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed.”

Emigration into the computer industry and other work forces has given the state a large South Asian population. Many have prospered, including Dalits and other lower caste Hindus, yet complaints come regarding senior Indian-origin colleagues in the workplace.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan, founder of the Oakland-based Equality Labs, the largest Dalit civil rights group in the US, said her planned talk at Google had been cancelled when employees argued it was
anti-Hindu.