Seattle City Council’s ‘Anti-Caste’ Resolution Is Hinduphobic, Travesty For All Hindus: Indian-American State Senator

New Delhi: An eminent Indian-American state senator has condemned the ‘anti-caste’ resolution passed by the Seattle City Council and alleged that the move showed rise on Hinduphobia in the United States.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council. Caste discrimination simply doesn’t exist now,” Niraj Antani, the first Hindu and Indian-American state senator in Ohio’s history, said.

“Adding it to their non-discrimination policy is Hinduphobic, and is a tool those that are anti-Hindu use to discriminate against Hindus in America, in India, and around the world,” he said.

Antani is the youngest Hindu and Indian-American elected official in the nation.

“Instead of passing this racist policy, Seattle should be passing policies to protect Hindus from discrimination,” he said.

“As the first Hindu & Indian State Senator in Ohio history & the youngest Hindu & Indian elected official in the nation, I am strongly condemning the anti-Hindu ordinance passed by Seattle Council last night. This ordinance is Hinduphobic & is a travesty for all Hindus,” Antani tweeted on Wednesday (22 February).

The resolution moved by Kshama Sawant was approved by the Seattle City Council by six to one vote on Tuesday.

“It’s official: our movement has won a historic, first-in-the-nation ban on caste discrimination in Seattle! Now we need to build a movement to spread this victory around the country,” Sawant, who is the member of Seatttle city council, said soon after the resolution was voted.

The results of the vote could have far-reaching implications on the issue of caste discrimination in the US as Hindu organisations have alleged that the resolution singles out Hindus, which are already a minority in the US, for additional legal scrutiny.

The ordinance adds ‘caste’ to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinances.

The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), along with numerous organisations who had signed a joint letter opposing the Seattle City Council’s caste ordinance, in a statement condemned the decision to include caste as part of its anti-discrimination policy.

The groups, while fully supporting attempts to tackle discrimination, raised concerns that such serious allegations require data showing systemic abuse – a standard the city had failed to meet by relying on faulty data that was also pointed out in the survey from Carnegie Endowment in 2021, the statement said.

“This law itself is inherently discriminatory because, unlike other categories such as race, gender, religion, ancestry, etc. it singles out the South Asian community as requiring special monitoring,” said CoHNA president Nikunj Trivedi.

“In taking this step, the city has relied on information from groups that have openly called for a dismantling of Hinduism – thus becoming an avenue for platforming hate against a minority group. It seems Seattle city is also openly saying that South Asians require more monitoring than all other groups,” he said.

“I was disappointed at how my voice was ignored. The council gave voice only to selected voices, without taking into consideration the fact that not all groups in the Dalit-Bahajun community support such a divisive and discriminatory bill,” added CoHNA Steering Committee member and Dalit community activist Aldrin Deepak.

Hindu American Foundation, another advocacy group for Hindus, while maintaining that caste discrimination was “wrong, violating core Hindu principles of the divine oneness of all beings”, said that the resolution singles out Hindus for additional legal scrutiny. (Courtesy: Swarajya)