Ambedkar International Center Files Amicus Brief to join caste discrimination case

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Soni Satti

The Ambedkar International Center (AIC) approached the California Supreme Court to be admitted as an ‘‘amicus curia’’ in the case of The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) vs Cisco Systems Inc, Sundar Iyer, and Ramana Kompella. AIC is a US-based organization fighting against caste-based discrimination.

Ajantha Subramanian stated during an online news conference-

The Cisco caste discrimination case is a major milestone in the transnational anti-caste movement. In the US, it has forced the social and institutional operations of caste out of the shadows.”

Ajantha Subramanian is the chair of Department of Anthropology and professor of South Asian Studies, Harvard University.

The AIC has submitted its amicus filing to provide expert and extensive information on caste discrimination.

Several Indian American groups have added their names in the brief and have argued that ‘‘Caste-based discrimination is unacceptable under local laws, like FEHA, which is California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act that “protects employees against discrimination based on a number of protected characteristics, including ancestry, race, and colour”

California regulators last year sued Cisco Systems, saying an engineer faced discrimination at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters because he is a Dalit Indian.

“When a rare Dalit anonymized as “John Doe’’ navigates the system fighting an existential struggle, makes it to the IITs, and even manages to get into Silicon Valley’s tech companies, he is still mocked for being someone who does not make it to the main merit list.

Despite making it to the top, he is told over and over again that he can’t work, he doesn’t have the necessary skills, or he does not belong to the tech world of Cisco. No matter what a Dalit does, it’s never enough. How much do Dalits have to do to prove their worth?” said Dr. Shailaja Paik, Fellow at Stanford Humanities Center, S and Associate Professor of History and Affiliate Faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies, University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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