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Seattle City Council poised to pass nation’s first ban on caste discrimination

The resolution exposes a deep fissure within the Indian American community. Supporters say caste discrimination is rampant, while opponents say it is rare and existing laws offer protection.

Seattle, Washington city council member Kshama Sawant has introduced a resolution banning caste-based discrimination. (Twitter photo)

More than 157 people assembled Feb. 14 to give their public comments on a controversial resolution proposed by Seattle, Washington city council member Kshama Sawant, which would ban discrimination based on caste.

Seattle would be the first city in the nation to have such a law on the books. The city council is scheduled to vote on the measure on Feb. 20. City council members have received hundreds of letters both supporting and opposing the measure. Almost all of the letters are from Indian Americans, who are sharply divided on the issue.

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