London (Asian independent)- A man from west London receives a 16 week suspended prison sentence for producing and sharing caste-related hate video on social media.
Mr Gurvinder Singh Luthra’s hearing took place on 25th May, 2021 at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sending by public communication offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing materials. Mr Luthra was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison – suspended for 12 months. He is also required to comply with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, and was ordered to pay £213 of court costs.
The videos Mr Luthra shared on TikTok in 2020, were of himself having an aggressive rant that included casteist, racist and homophobic insults. There were also threats of rape. In particular, he made offensive and derogatory comments about Guru Ravi Dass – a spiritual figure followed by millions of Indians around the world.
The Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) has been campaigning for caste discrimination to be outlawed in Britain since 2008. ACDA was one of the witnesses in this case. Ravi Kumar, General Secretary of ACDA said:
“The 16-week prison suspended sentence given to Gurvinder Singh Luthra should signal to others that they cannot make and share caste-related hate communications. This sentence is woefully inadequate in view of the sufferings regularly being reported to us by those suffering CBD in all walks of life in Britain. We are grateful however, to Hounslow Police and Crown Prosecution Service for taking this case to court.
Hate speech laws in the UK are designed to protect communities from such abuse. The fact that Mr Luthra was able to produce and post these offensive caste-related videos on social media implies he felt he could, and get away with it.
We understand the charge did not specifically refer to ‘caste’ because caste is not a protected characteristic in law. We call on the Government to provide the legal clarity required urgently, and implement the law agreed by Parliament in 2013. This would make caste discrimination and caste-related hate crimes unlawful in this country. Without such clarity, cases like this will continue to take place under the radar and not be recorded.
Social media giants –Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have recognised Caste hate speech as being unacceptable and say so openly in their guidance. It is time for TikTok to follow suit.”