In the last few years, there has been a lot of noise about the increasing ‘hate crimes’ in India. There has also been a lot of noise about media biases, about people capitalising on the narrative to spread their own propaganda and so on.
So, what exactly constitutes a hate crime? And just how many has India witnessed in the last two years? A campaign by Amnesty International India tells you.
Called ‘Halt the Hate’, the website for the campaign was launched on Thursday. Designed by Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology in Bengaluru, the website features an interactive map.
It chronicles the alleged hate crimes in India that took place from September 28, 2015, when Dadri resident Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched and killed by a mob for allegedly eating beef.
A screengrab from the website
The initiative describes a hate crime as a term “generally applied to criminal acts against people based on their real or perceived membership of a particular group, such as caste, religion or ethnicity.”
The map allows you to segregate the crimes by state, year, alleged motive (such as cow-related, caste, religion, love jihad and so on), nature of harm (assault, harassment, rape, property damage and so on), identity of the victim (women, transgender persons, Dalit, Adivasi, among others) and the party in power at the time of the crime. A news report also appears for reference when you click on a particular crime.
You can also view intersectional results by selecting multiple relevant options from the above categories, allowing you to gauge the political climate, biases and incidence of a particular type of hate crime. For instance, some interesting statistics were found by the makers while curating the data:
“Uttar Pradesh was the state with the most such incidents in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, 237 alleged hate crimes were recorded. Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat recorded the most incidents.”
Asserting that the first step to ending hate crimes is by highlighting them, Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India, said, “Many of these incidents are deeply disturbing: Dalits have been attacked for merely sporting moustaches and Muslims lynched for transporting cattle. Dalit women have been branded as witches, and raped and killed. Unfortunately, the extent of hate crimes in India is unknown because the law – with some exceptions – does not recognise hate crimes as specific offences.”
“The data on our website is just a snapshot of alleged hate crimes in India. Many incidents are not reported in the media. While criminal investigations have been initiated in some cases, too many have gone unpunished. Authorities need to do much more to ensure justice for victims and their families,” Aakar added.
The website also has a provision to report hate crimes.
Check out the ‘Halt the Hate’ website here.