Toronto school board votes to recognize caste oppression - IAMC
Caste oppression

Canada’s largest district school board votes to take action against caste oppression

In a historic move, Canada’s largest district school board has voted to take action against caste oppression and has called upon the Ontario Human Rights Commission to help create a provincial framework to address the issue. 

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), which serves approximately 235,000 students in 583 schools, also voted to create a working group of individuals who identify as Dalit or caste-oppressed in order to better prevent discrimination. 

The move is believed to be the first time a school board in Canada has recognized the reality of caste discrimination. 

However, Hindu supremacist groups in Canada have opposed the move, claiming that addressing caste discrimination is “Hinduphobic.” One Hindu right group, Canadian Organization for Hindu Heritage Education, falsely claimed that “there is little evidence or reports of ‘caste oppression’ in Toronto and for that matter Canada.”

However, TDSB trustee Yalini Rajakulasingam has slammed that notion by recounting that parents of Dalit students have reported that their children have been bullied and harassed on the basis of caste.

“There is no category to record caste [oppression]. So it is not being recorded as caste. This does not mean it is not happening,” said Rajakulasingam. 

Hindu supremacist cow vigilantes lynch Muslim man in Bihar 

In the latest incident in a string of violent cow vigilante lynchings, a Muslim man, Naseeb Qureshi (47), was beaten to death with sticks and sharp weapons by a Hindu supremacist mob in Bihar state. The mob justified the attack by claiming that Qureshi had been carrying beef.

Firoz Qureshi, the victim’s nephew and a witness to the attack, reported that he and Naseeb were attacked by a group of 10 to 15 people, including a local village chief. While Naseeb was brutally beaten by the mob, Firoz escaped and fled to a police station to ask for help. 

However, the Hindu supremacist police refused to help prevent the murder, and instead told Firoz to leave.

“When I asked again [for help], I was subjected to verbal abuse, including a threatening comment: ‘Those individuals did not harm you; you deserve to be harmed,’” Firoz said.

Only three Hindu supremacists – Sushil Singh, Ravi Shah, and Ujjwal Sharma – have been arrested in this case. 

Cow vigilantism has sharply increased under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which openly encourages anti-Muslim violence. In the past few weeks alone, several Muslim men have been lynched in cow vigilante attacks, including two men in Haryana state who were kidnapped and burned alive in their car. 

Karnataka BJP leader demands Hindu saleswoman wear bindi, slammed for sexism

A BJP leader from Karnataka state has been slammed for overt sexism on International Woman’s Day after reprimanding a Hindu saleswoman in public, demanding that she wear a bindi to signify that she is married. 

In a viral video, BJP leader S. Muniswamy can be seen raising his voice at the saleswoman during a fair, saying, “Wear a Bindi first. Your husband is alive, isn’t he? You have no common sense.”

Muniswamy’s comments have triggered backlash on social media, with users pointing to the BJP’s use of regressive and Hindu supremacist sexism to belittle women of all faiths.

“Once you allow them to say, ‘wearing hijab not allowed,’ you lay the foundation for allowing them to say, ‘wear a bindi,’” one user commented, referencing the BJP-led government’s hijab ban in Karnataka. 

“Has BJP taken the rights to moral police women? Will they now tell what hindu women should be wearing, what a muslim women shouldn’t be wearing?” said another user. 

In 2022, the High Court of Karnataka state upheld a ban on hijabs in schools, a move that was championed by Hindu supremacist leaders, students, and politicians alike.