California State University (CSU), a top university system in the United States with 23 campuses and eight off-campus centres, has decided to add caste to its policies pertaining to anti-discrimination, NBC News reported.
A first of its kind, the move has been welcomed by several human rights groups fighting against caste-based discrimination in the United States.
Lower caste students will now be able to report any instances of bias and discrimination, something that they regularly experience in school.
An important thing to note is that Indians alone are not the victims of the oppressive institution that caste is.
Prem Pariyar, an alumnus of CSU East Bay, is a Dalit who hails from Nepal.
His family fled to the US after being attacked in Nepal for their Dalit identity.
During a meeting, when a non-Dalit Indian professor referred to caste as an "Indian problem", Pariyar questioned his claims.
"You are talking about India? I’m from Nepal. This is not about India only. It’s about Nepal and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. There are so many South Asians who are being discriminated based on their caste identity. So many generations, they spent their lives as untouchables," as quoted by NBC News.
Joseph Castro, the eighth chancellor of the California State University, said in a statement that "the entire California State University aspires to uphold the values of Inclusive Excellence by creating an environment where all of our talented and diverse students and employees are welcome and encouraged to succeed."
1 in every 4 Dalits in the United States say that they frequently face caste discrimination according reports published by Equality Labs, which is "Dalit civil rights organisation dedicated to ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance," according its website.
(With inputs from NBC News)