Sharp rise in hate crimes in India this year, says Amnesty
A total of 181 incidents of hate crimes were recorded in the first half of this year — a steep rise since 2015, according to a report by Amnesty International’s India chapter.
The count is almost double that of the same period last year, when 100 such cases were recorded, The Hindu reported.
Over two-thirds of the victims were targeted because they were Dalits, while 40 of them suffered on account of their Muslim identity.
In 37 reported incidents, the victims were killed, according to the report. In 30 cases, victims were raped or sexually assaulted, with sexual harassment in another 19 cases.
More alarmingly, 72 mob attacks were reported from across India between January and June 2019. Of the 37 such attacks against Muslims, the victims were lynched to death in five cases.
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Dalit victims were lynched to death in eight of the 28 mob attacks targetting them. There were also seven honour killings and 12 cases of violence against Adivasis.
Amnesty’s Halt the Hate website was launched in September 2015 in the wake of the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq on the suspicion of beef consumption in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh.
It has recorded a total of 902 reported incidents of hate crime since then, of which 621 were related to caste discrimination, while another 113 were motivated by cow vigilantism.
A quarter of all hate crimes since 2015 took place in Uttar Pradesh, with 216 in total.
Other states with high incidences of hate crime include Tamil Nadu (80), Gujarat (79) and Haryana (61).
The tracker works by collating information from reports in English and Hindi language media. It classifies hate crimes on the basis of alleged motives, types of targeted victims and level of violence.
Official government data is not available, as Indian law does not recognise a hate crime as a separate offence.
“For India to be committed towards ending hate crimes — where people are targeted because of their identity stemming from race, religion, caste and gender amongst others, it is essential for the penal laws to first recognise the bias behind such crimes and document the occurrence of such incidents – both of which remain absent currently,” Amnesty International India’s executive director Aakar Patel said in a statement.