A recent statement by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on caste-based discrimination has sparked outrage in the Indo-Canadian community, as reported by Hindustan Times.
OHRC's statement outlines the rights and responsibilities under Ontario's Human Rights Code regarding this issue.
OHRC believes that caste-based discrimination can fall under various categories in Ontario's Code, like ancestry, creed, colour, race, ethnic origin, place of origin, family status, and other applicable grounds.
Community activists supporting the recognition of Hinduphobia in Canada appreciate the statement, especially its stance against discrimination based on stereotypes linked to religion or communities connected with the caste system.
However, there are concerns about how this might impact Hinduism, the complexities of defining caste, and the lack of community input in the statement.
On the other hand, the Chetna Association of Canada welcomes the statement for enhancing accountability and encouraging positive changes. They highlight that the statement urges organisations to review and improve their policies to address caste-based discrimination.
Rishabh Sarswat, president of the Coalition of Hindus of North America (COHNA), argues that existing laws already cover caste-based discrimination and advises against creating new grounds for discrimination, aligning with OHRC's statement.
COHNA Canada cautions that the statement may have a negative impact on the community by profiling Hindu Canadians based on various arbitrary factors.
OHRC defines the caste system as a social hierarchy rooted in ancestry and concepts of 'purity' and 'pollution', practiced in some cultural or religious communities.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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