In a dramatic action, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD, formerly CDFEH) today filed to dismiss its close to three year old case of caste based discrimination against two Indian origin engineers at Cisco. With a tersely worded filing that assigned no reason, the CRD brought the curtain down on three years of trial by publicity and innuendo against Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella on charges that they had discriminated against “John Doe” on the basis of caste.
The move was welcomed with jubilation by the large American Hindu community and the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA). “We always knew that the case had no basis in actual fact and was foisted upon the defendants by overzealous lawyers at CDFEH, something we had pointed out in various public webinars and articles,” said Nikunj Trivedi, President and Founder of CoHNA. “We are glad that they have come to their senses and done the only right thing left to do after they faced a motion for sanctions from the defendants.”
The case has been the centerpiece of claims by many organizations, especially Equality Labs, that caste based discrimination is rampant in the diaspora. Several universities, including Harvard, Brown and the Cal State system have added “caste” as a protected class, citing the Cisco case as a key piece of evidence. The defendants, Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella, along with the broader Hindu Community were tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
During the past few years, aside from the direct impact to the defendants themselves, the entire American Hindu community found itself vilified for raising questions or asking about the truth and intent of the privileged activists pushing this narrative. This included Dalit and Bahujan leaders within CoHNA, who found themselves silenced and disparaged when they stood against this calumny. Today is a day for vindication for all who fought back the popular narrative against a minority and the unjust policies and laws built on false allegations.
“As a Dalit American, I watched in dismay how my voice was ignored by the people and groups claiming to represent folks like me. I ask if the City of Seattle or Harvard and Brown universities will rescind their policies now that the only case in the country alleging caste discrimination has been dismissed by the complainant without a word of testimony from either side,” said Dalit Activist and CoHNA Steering Committee Member Aldrin Deepak.
“I hope that the newspapers and websites that spent three years vilifying Sundar Iyer and Ramana Kompella, and my whole Hindu community alongside them, will show some shame and remorse and apologize. But, we are not hopeful.”
The shocking dismissal has an immediate potential impact on SB-403, introduced in the California Assembly by Senator Aisha Wahab. “The decent thing for Senator Wahab to do now is to withdraw SB- 403,” said Suresh Krishnamoorthy, Board Member of CoHNA.
“We hope that common sense prevails in the California Senate Judiciary Committee and they can see that the whole thing was premised on a house of cards constructed in bad faith by the Hinduphobic organization, Equality Labs.” Equality Labs’ biased “Caste Report” was also the basis of the recently passed Seattle ordinance spearheaded by Marxist Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and which named the Cisco case as the reason for adding caste as a protected category in the Seattle ordinance.
(The story was published on cohna.reportablenews.com on April 10, 2023 and has been reproduced here with permission.)