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California state assembly passes anti-caste bill, senators await legislation; check details

The talk on caste-based discrimination has been gaining prominence, especially among the South Asian communities. Some feel caste-based discrimination is very much alive in the United States.

California state assembly passes an anti-caste bill, senators await legislation; check details AVV
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First Published Sep 6, 2023, 5:04 PM IST

In a historic moment in Californian state history, the anti-caste bill also known as the anti-discrimination bill was passed by the California state assembly on August 28. However, even after a week of passing, the bill awaits approval from Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Aisha Wahab, a California state senator brought the anti-caste bill to end caste-based discrimination, especially in the South Asian communities. Aisha Wahab is a popular figure in the South Asian diaspora of California. She is the first Muslim as well as the first Afghan American senator in California.

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Aisha Wahab brought the bill to the California State Assembly early this year. She lobbied for support on the anti-caste bill. And finally, on August 28, the bill was put to vote. California state senate voted 31-5 in favor of the bill. It is a massive moment in history as California could become the first state in the United States to ban caste-based discrimination. 

The talk on caste-based discrimination has been gaining prominence, especially among the South Asian communities. Some feel caste-based discrimination is very much alive in the United States. Seattle at the start of the year became the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination.

Even after a week of passing the anti-discrimination bill in the California State Assembly, Aisha Wahab and many other senators await the consent of Governor Gavin Newsom. It is now up to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign the bill and make it a legislation. Protests have also taken place outside the California State Assembly demanding the immediate signing of the anti-caste bill.

 

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On the other side, many in the Indian and South Asian communities have opposed the bill. They feel the bill would criminalize the vibrant Hindu community in the state of California. Hindu American Foundation's executive director Suhag Shukla said, "When a state legislator pushes a law with the intent of targeting an ethnic community, it's not only racist, it's unconstitutional. We will explore every option to protect the rights of Hindu Californians."

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