The section provides for a minister to “amend the statutory definition of race to include caste.” Although the upper chamber voted twice in favour of the move, the lower house dithered until the Business minister Vince Cable announced the government U-turn, saying caste in future would be treated as “an aspect of race.”
Countries where Dalits are campaigning for similar legislation include Canada, the US, Germany, France and Italy, said Prasad, who is from Delhi. An IIT Kanpur alumnus, he works as for an aerospace company and has been a driving force in the British campaign.
As recently as in October 2012, Prasad became a victim of caste violence himself, when he returned from giving evidence at a caste discrimination case one evening to find all the windows of his house smashed. “Our people felt suffocated,” he said on Friday. “But now we no longer feel weak.”
There are no reliable statistics, but campaigners say around 40-50,000 people may be at risk in Britain. The bill has received the formal assent of the Queen.