1) 25th July :
The House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement - has published its Call for Evidence today – 25/07/2017
The deadline for submitting written evidence is 8 September 2017.
• You can find the Call for Evidence here: http://www.parliament.uk/…/Citizenship-civic-engagement-cal…
• You can submit written evidence to the Committee here:http://www.parliament.uk/…/publicati…/written-evidence-form/
This is a public Call for Evidence – please pass it on to anyone who might be interested. You can follow the progress of the inquiry at [www.parliament.uk/citizenship-civic-engagement]www.parliament.uk/citizenship-civic-engagement .
2) 21st July : Vulnerable Faith Institutions Scheme –Update : There is very low intake from the Hindu Temples and community organisation even though many of them complain about hate crimes in terms of racial abuse, Graffiti , bones and meat thrown within temple grounds and blatant disregard to the sanctity of the temple. The HFB urges everyone to keep a record of such incidents and report them to the police. This is an opportunity to improve security of your place of worship, not to be missed. Bid closes 17 August 2017 Please find attached link below:
3) The National Meeting of the Inter Faith Network UK – 30th Anniversary National Meeting was held on 5th July 2017 at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre Westminster, LondonThis meeting was attended by two representatives of Hindu Forum of Britain Mrs. Trupti Patel President, and Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, Chair of Education. Both representative joined the discussion group a) Opening with difficult dialogue, engaging with tough topics and b)Engaging faith communities on social issues. The theme of the 30th Anniversary meeting was “Moving Forward Together”. There were several eminent speakers and the focus of the meeting was to look forward and outward, to focus on things that unite us and how one would respect and celebrate differences while building on what we share. There was a strong emphasis on youth involvement and education, and dialogue was vital to positive inter faith engagement. Trends of communication in the digital world reflected on how platforms open up new possibilities for engagement and the importance of using digital media wisely and effectively. There was a thread running through the meeting that focussed on IFN’s work since its earliest days to identify common values and encouragement and support for communities working together for the common good.
LINKS: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/ifnetuk/
4) RE Council Annual General Meeting : The RE Council was delighted to hold its Annual General Meeting at Neasden Temple (BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir) on Thursday 11 May. Colleagues from across the REC's 65 member organisations were in attendance and received a very warm welcome. This meeting was attended by two representatives of Hindu Forum of Britain Mrs. Trupti Patel President, and Dr. Lakshmi Vyas, Chair of Education. Colleagues heard the reports from the REC Chair and CEO about the REC's latest activities and plans for the year ahead. We were also happy to welcome the Jewish Museum as a new member of the RE Council. Link: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/…
5) Caste Consultations : closes at 11:45pm on 18 September 2017 Summary The Government Equalities Office is seeking views on caste in Great Britain and equality law. Caste Consultations 2017 • https://consult.education.gov.uk/…/caste-in-great-britain-…/
5-a) Hindu Forum of Britain organised a synopsis on ‘Dissolving Caste Consciousness’ in the House of Commons on 5th July 17 between 18.00 and 20.00 hrs in committee room 19 .
Coinciding with the ongoing public consultation on Caste Legislation in the UK, Hindu Forum of Britain organised a synopsis under the aegis of Bob Blackman MP, Chair of APPG for British Hindus. Key representatives of several Hindu and multi-faith organisations and community members were in attendance.
Lord Dholakia, Shailesh Vara MP, Bob Blackman MP, Pandit Satish Sharma- General Secretary for NCHT, Shrimati Vanaya Sharma General Secretary of the Vishava Hindu Parishad (UK), Nitin Palan- Trustee, BAPS Neasden Mandir , Ms Versha Mistry of MPHA , Mrs Harsha Jani of Maa Charity Trust and Prabhakar Kaza gave their vital inputs on the subject.
President of HFB Mrs Trupti Patel highlighted the work history from 2007 ever since the term Caste entered the legal jargon in the UK. In her opening words, she added, ”We went to temples and community centres around the country , discussed the matter and found no evidence of caste discrimination. Working with major Hindu organisations, the steering group was created to deal with this consultations and have produced the guidance notes for Businesses, individuals, temples and also simplified the forms for people to understand the questions” . Lakshmi Kaul of Cultural Society and representing Bob Blackman’s office conducted the meeting . Lord Dholakia stated very clearly “There was no need to introduce a new element to stir up the Indian Community and create conflicts within the community structure. Let us accept that there are issues within the community, however they should not be brought at a government level. There are more mixed marriages and growing up together with other members of community, discrimination on any ground- whether race, religion, colour or caste must not be tolerated. We are capable of resolving issues within ourselves”.
Pt Satish Sharma made an interesting speech saying “We are British citizens, and British Tax payers. The trust in politicians has plummeted so low, that we cannot entrust our rights to the institutions in this country which are funded by our efforts. The context was rushed and passed without the appropriate level of scrutiny. The strategy of proving that we are wonderful people has not worked. There are legal, theological and academic edifices to this, which are present in the document that we have produced. I refute that there is caste in our culture and in our society. The word caste has been used for 250 years to provoke contempt and hate. There is no historic, scriptural, academic, legislative basis upon which this word must be introduced and can be substantiate”.
Bob Blackman MP added “Should the Caste be part of legislation, may result in bigger problem. All sorts of cases may be brought against, in education and public services field. So far, not even a single case of alleged caste discrimination has come to my desk. There is no quality or quantity of such cases, hence this is not worthy of legislation. Community must make use of the consultation, and seek good quality responses to the questionnaire. Adding to this, Shailesh Vara MP emphasized that it is up to the community to produce articulated responses. “We are not sure how the power structure at the Commons shall work. It took a long time to reach here, hence it is important to drive it effectively forward”.
Shrimati Vinaya Sharma explained about community engagement workshops and the challenges faced in filling up the forms especially those whose first language is not English. Dr Lakshmi Vyas, President-Hindu Forum of Europe highlighted the simplification of consultation questionnaire and the effort that went into it, to make people understand the significance of participating in consultation process. She further remarked that there is no mention of caste on any of the application forms in India, why do we need to have it in Britain. Trustee of HFB Haribhai Halai read out a message from Swami Madhavpriyadasji who urged everyone to fill in the forms and the chair of Patron Shree Shashibhai Vekaria concluded the event with vote of thanks .
In the time honored tradition , Swami Kabir ji from the ‘Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan’ blessed the gathering with opening and closing prayers.
5-B) What does “caste legislation” mean?
In June 2013, UK Parliament included legal protection against discrimination on the basis of “caste” in the Equality Act 2010- Britain’s anti-discrimination legislation.
They did this by attempting to define “caste” an aspect of the protected characteristic “race” in the Act. A protected characteristic is a one upon which you are not allowed to discriminate such as age, gender, religion, disability, etc. Race is defined as referring to a group of people defined by their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Accordingly, Section 9 (5) of the Equality Act 2010 states the following:
A Minister of the Crown:
• (a) must by order amend this section so as to provide for caste to be an aspect of race;
• (b) may by order amend this Act so as to provide for an exception to a provision of this Act to apply, or not to apply, to caste or to apply, or not to apply, to caste in specified circumstances.
Why should you fill the consultation form :
• British Hindus want to eradicate caste.
• British Hindus do not want “caste” entrenched in law.
• We do not want the social misgivings of caste from India to enter the consciousness of communities in the UK. It is divisive and creates inter-community tensions that would not otherwise exist.
• This legislation will create caste consciousness amongst future generations of British Hindus
• The explanatory notes in the Equality Act singles out Indians/ Hindus and I feel discriminated against as a result. The caste amendment itself is discriminatory
• The legislation runs contrary to community cohesion and is fragmenting what is otherwise a well integrated community by resurfacing old wounds from another country.
• WE cannot rely on people who have no understanding of caste to define it – neither in Parliament or in a court of law
• This has the danger of opening me up to unfair litigation through no fault of my own.
• Write to your MP informing him/her how this legislation will impact you.
• Meet with your MP to discuss the issue and take others with you.
• The more letters that are written and the more meetings that are organised with the MP, the better.
• This is of utmost priority and we all need to ask our MP to repeal legislation on this issue and educate them on the dangers of developing case law on caste.
For further information and guidance notes to fill the consultation form contact :
President : HFB : Mrs Trupti Patel
Hindu Forum Britain
Unit 3, Vascroft Estate
861, Coronation Road
London NW10 7PT
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The Hindu Forum of Britain is an umbrella body with a broad-based membership of over 300 Hindu organisations from different regions and cultural backgrounds in Britain. At the core of the Forum’s activities is a strong belief in the richness and diversity of the Hindu culture, its value system that encompasses respect for all beings and faiths, and a cultural heritage that facilitates community cohesion and coexistence.
The HFB has wide support from the regional Hindu councils in the North, West Midlands, East Midlands, Brent, Harrow and large temples and community organisations in most regions of Britain. The Hindu Forum has also established a fully consultative system that has become the driving force for affecting change and delivering projects.
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