[Vancouver Sun] The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint by two members of the Indo-Canadian community who were denied membership in a Burnaby Sikh temple because of their social ranking in India’s caste system.
The 900 members of the Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha Temple belong to the lowest group, Dalits, formerly referred to as “untouchables” and often considered outside the caste system altogether. Sahota and Shergill are from the jat caste, which is traditionally a land-owning class in the Punjab and now makes up much of Metro Vancouver’s Sikh community.
The decision, released this week, was hailed as an affirmation of temple members’ right to gather as a “minority within a minority,” said spokesman Jai Birdi.
“Since the decision has come out, the members are feeling quite empowered by it,” he said. “They’re feeling that this really reinforces their ability to come together as a marginalized community from India to talk about their heritage and historical unresolved issues and come up with some strategies for moving forward.”