Canadian province proclaims April 14 as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Equality Day
As the issue of caste-based discrimination gets highlighted in Canada, the province of British Columbia has proclaimed April 14 as Dr B R Ambedkar Equality Day.
As the issue of caste-based discrimination gets highlighted in Canada, the province of British Columbia or BC has proclaimed April 14 as Dr B R Ambedkar Equality Day.
While April is also observed as Dalit History Month in BC.
A proclamation from the provincial Government said the Day “is an opportunity to remember and honour his legacy of dedication to equality and social justice, which continues to inspire people in British Columbia and across the world.”
Dr Ambedkar was born on that day in 1891 and “was an Indian politician, economist and social reformer known as the ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’ who advocated for the rights of Dalit communities and led the movement against systemic discrimination based on caste.”
India’s High Commission in Ottawa will also observe Ambedkar Jayanti with the presentation of a documentary on his life and achievements. The documentary is titled: Mooknayak – Leader of the Silent. The High Commission is also hosting a photo exhibition on his life.
Just last month, the Toronto District School Board or TDSB, the largest in the country, passed a motion recognising caste-based oppression. The motion stipulated that the Director of TDSB will “file an application with the Ontario Human Rights Commission to request that they assess and provide a framework for addressing caste oppression in a public education context.” However, the final motion that was passed was diluted version of the original, passed on February 8 by the TDSB’s Governance and Policy Committee, which had sought that a two-phased plan to address caste oppression be implemented within the system itself.
Also last month, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal awarded a complainant, Manoj Bhangu, CA$ 9755 after finding he had been subjected to a caste-based slur by Inderjit and Avninder Dhillon, during the course of an altercation at a taxi company’s Christmas Party in 2018. Bhangu, a Hindu, had been abused by the former co-workers.
The community organisation, Canadian Organization for Hindu Heritage Education, which opposes caste-based discrimination, described it as “first, precedent setting, case” and added that ruling proved that “if a ‘caste oppression’ complaint was to be made, it would be covered under the existing HR (human right) code – the category of ‘ethnicity and place of origin’.”