Scores of Indian Americans held a peaceful protest rally in the State Capital of Sacramento urging California Governor Gavin Newsom to veto the anti-caste discrimination bill, recently passed by the State Assembly, which they asserted is discriminatory and targets the Indians in general and Hindus in particular.
If signed into law by Governor Newsom, California would become the first State in the United States and the first jurisdiction outside India to outlaw discrimination based on caste. The legislation revises California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by adding caste as a protected category under “ancestry”.
“We ask Governor Newsom to Veto SB403 so history remembers that you said no to discrimination against Indian Americans and said no to racially profiling our community!” Samir Kalra of the Hindu American Foundation told the gathering of Indian Americans in front of the State Capitol in Sacramento on Saturday.
Displaying posters and banners, the protestors, most of whom had gathered from various parts of the State, urged the Governor not to sign the bill into law as this would end up in discrimination against the Hindu community. Much worse is that the bill amounts to racial profiling of the Hindu community, they argued.
Hindu American Foundation has said that it is exploring every option to protect the rights of Hindu Californians and is planning to file a lawsuit against this.
The bill was introduced by Senator Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan-American woman elected to the state legislature, in February. The California Senate overwhelmingly passed SB403 “Discrimination on the basis of ancestry” with 31-5 votes last week.