For many years, there has been a strong lobby in the British Parliament thathas been trying to highlight issues of caste discrimination in India,particularly amongst the Dalit communities. Several Members of Parliamenthave asked questions on the floor of the House of Commons, tabled Early DayMotions, and introduced at least one major debate in attempts to highlightthis issue.A notable feature of the ‘caste-discrimination’ lobby in the UK is that they arecomposed of many organisations that have a distinct Christian ethos, like theChristian Solidarity Worldwide, or have the support of many Christianorganisations, like the Dalit Solidarity Network. Recently though, there hasbeen an attempt by these organisations to pressurise the Government tolegislate ‘caste discrimination’ in the UK within the framework of the RaceRelations Act, 1976.Against this background, the Department for Communities and LocalGovernment issued a questionnaire on ‘caste discrimination in the UK’ in anattempt to understand the issue better. The questionnaire has been issued toseveral organisations from different faith backgrounds as well as ethnicities,perhaps because the Department recognizes that caste is not a phenomenonrestricted to one faith or country.I am pleased to present to the Department a response I have writtenon behalf of the Hindu Forum of Britain to their questionnaire on caste. The response has been produced after seeking feedback through asurvey from a fairly representative Hindu sample of 245 persons and afocus group meeting attended by 30 organisations. This was alsobacked by desk-research and feedback from various stakeholdergroups.We hope that our response will add to the knowledge of theGovernment on this issue and that it will help them come to the rightconclusions.
Ramesh KallidaiSecretary GeneralHindu Forum of Britain14 June 2008Released on the sacred day of Bhima Nirjala Ekadashi
Hindu Forum of Britain Caste in the UK
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