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Amnesty report: Hate crimes rose sharply the first half of 2019

Amnesty India’s hate crime tracker has recorded 181 incidents of alleged hate crimes in the first half of 2019, the steepest rise in such incidents since 2015. The count is almost double that of the same period last year, when 100 such cases were recorded.

Over two-thirds of the victims were targeted because because they were Dalits, while 40 of them suffered on account of their Muslim identity. In 37 reported incidents, the victims were killed. In 30 cases, victims were raped or sexually assaulted, with sexual harassment in another 19 cases.

Between January and June 2019, 72 mob attacks were reported. Of the 37 such attacks against Muslims, the victims were lynched to death in five cases. Dalit victims were lynched to death in eight of the 28 mob attacks targeting them. There were 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.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 5:21:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amnesty-report-hate-crimes-rose-sharply-the-first-half-of-2019/article29598191.ece

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