HAF Sues CA For ‘Misrepresenting’ Hindu Practices
India-West Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON, DC – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on September 22 sued the California Department of Civil Rights in the US for alleged misrepresentation of Hindu beliefs and practices by saying that the caste system and caste-based discrimination are integral parts of Hindu teachings.
The advocacy group says by doing so, the California Department of Civil Rights violated the First Amendment rights of Hindus living in CA.
The Foundation said the department had acted “unconstitutionally” alleging caste discrimination occurring at Cisco Systems by “seeking to define what Hindus believe and decide how they practice their religion”.
“HAF’s lawsuit states that the Department of Civil Rights (formerly known as Department of Fair Employment and Housing) wrongly asserts ‘that a caste system and caste-based discrimination are integral parts of Hindu teaching and practices by declaring the caste system to be a ‘strict Hindu social and religious hierarchy, which requires discrimination by ‘social custom and legal mandate,” said the press release.
“Throughout its two decades of existence, HAF has consistently maintained caste discrimination is wrong, and that any discrimination is neither ‘core’ nor legitimate parts of Hindu and religious beliefs, teachings, or practices, nor condoned,” HAF said.
The complaint at the federal court stated that stopping caste-based discrimination is a worthy goal that directly furthers Hinduism’s “belief in the equal and divine essence” of all people. “But wrongly tying Hindu beliefs and practices to the abhorrent practice of caste discrimination undermines that goal, violates the First Amendment rights of all Hindu Americans, and can only lead to a denial of due process to Americans based on their religious affiliation.”
The HAF’s legal intervention is regarding an ongoing case since June 2020 where the Department had sued Cisco Systems in response to allegations by a Hindu employee who had alleged harassment at the hands of two Indian American managers because he was from a lower caste than them.