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Discrimination: Caste law facing major delays

A new law banning caste-based discrimination in the UK looks set to face major delays, reports the BBC.

The caste-system is a major feature in countries including India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is predominantly a feature of the Hindu faith, although versions also exist in South East Asia.

Under the caste system, society is divided according to status, family background and sometimes religious beliefs as well. 

Within the Indian system, the 'highest' caste is that of the Brahmin, who were traditionally the priests and teachers. Then come the Kshatriyas - warriors and law enforcers - and below them the Vaishayas who are farmers and traders. The lowest caste is the Shudras, who provide services.

However, the caste-system also denotes a level to those deemed beneath the system as a whole. These are referred to as 'Untouchables' or 'Dalits'.

In India caste-based discrimination means that these Dalits often cannot find jobs, cannot marry outside of their caste and face a life on the sidelines. India has now made such discrimination illegal.

The UK Government announced earlier this year that it believed caste-based discrimination was a feature in some Asian communities living in the UK and moved to create a new law to include caste-based discrimination among existing legal provisions to protect equality.

However, campaign groups have been left disappointed after the Government revealed its timetable for the new law would see legislation no earlier than the summer of 2015.

"It's a really appalling show by the Government. They say they are pushing for equality, but it seems some groups are far more equal than others," said Raj Chand, the chairman of the Anti-Caste Discriminatory Alliance.