LONDON, December 11, 2013 (NIERSR): This report, Caste discrimination and harassment in Great Britain, by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research was release in December, 2010, and is one of the important research documents in the current public debate in England over possible legislation to address caste discrimination. It includes 19 case studies described at some length along with many shorter examples which give a good insight into the issue of caste discrimination among Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim and others who come from the Indian subcontinent. Following is the summary at the beginning of the 113 page report, which may be downloaded at "source" above.
Report Summary (from page vi):
The term caste is used to identify a number of different concepts, notably, varna (a Hindu religious caste system), jati (an occupational caste system) and biraderi (often referred to as a clan system). The examples of caste discrimination identified related to jati. Caste awareness in Britain is concentrated amongst people with roots in the Indian sub-continent (who comprise five per cent of the population). It is not religion specific and is subscribed to by (and affects) members of any or no religion.
The study identified evidence suggesting caste discrimination and harassment of the type covered by the Equality Act 2010 in relation to:
* work (bullying, recruitment, promotion, task allocation;
* provision of services; and
* education (pupil on pupil bullying)1.
The study also identified evidence suggesting caste discrimination and harassment which may fall outside the Equality Act 2010 in relation to voluntary work, demeaning behavior and violence.
The caste discrimination and harassment identified in this study was by higher castes against the lowest castes.
There is no clear evidence on whether the extent of caste discrimination and harassment is changing. There are both positive and negative influences at work.
To reduce caste discrimination and harassment the Government might take educative or legislative approaches. Either would be useful in the public sector. However, non-legislative approaches are less likely to be effective in the private sector and do not assist those where the authorities themselves are discriminating. Relying on the Indian community to take action to reduce caste discrimination and harassment is problematic.
Equality Act 2010 provisions on religious discrimination cannot cover caste discrimination and harassment as effectively as caste-specific provisions would.