Amnesty International India has been documenting hate crimes allegedly committed against dalits, adivasis, members of racial or religious minority groups, transgender people, and other marginalised people, reported in mainstream English and Hindi media since September 2015 when Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, for allegedly killing a cow.
Since that day, a disturbing 603 incidents have been recorded on the website. Cow-related violence and honour killings were among the most common instances of alleged hate crimes. Previously, in 2016 and 2017, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of alleged hate crimes. This time too, the highest number was from that State.
According to the newly released report, in the first six months of 2018, 100 hate crimes have allegedly been committed against people from marginalised groups. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 18 such crimes while Gujarat closely followed it with 13 cases. Rajasthan reported eight cases while Tamilnadu and Bihar had seven each. A total of 67 incidents of alleged hate crimes were against dalits, 22 against muslims with 42 incidents involving murder and 13 involving sexual violence against women from these groups.
What is a hate crime?
According to Amnesty, criminal acts against people based on their real or perceived membership of a particular group, such as caste, religion or ethnicity are known as hate crimes.
Is horse riding a crime?
The website reported that dalits have been attacked for merely riding horses, muslims lynched on rumors of cattle-slaughter and dalit women raped and burnt to death.
Amnesy said that hate crimes are different from other crimes because there is an underlying discriminatory motive behind them. But the law, with some exceptions, does not recognise hate crimes as separate offences. This means that even today, the extent of hate crimes in India is unknown.