Year 2018 saw the biggest instances of religious hate crime in India: Report
New Delhi, Dec 27: Although political sloganeering of "achhe din" (good days) filled the skies of India ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, research has shown that 2018 has been the worst year in a decade in terms of hate crimes motivated by religious bias in the country. According to Hate Crime Watch, a multi-organisation effort led by FactChecker.in in collaboration with Aman Biradiri, a New Delhi-based people's campaign for secularism, justice and compassion and NewsClick.in., 93 instances of attacks were recorded as of December 26.
It was said that in 75 per cent of these cases, the victims belonged to the minority community. The outgoing year saw deaths of 30 people, which is the most since 2009, while at least 305 were injured. In 2017, the death toll was 29 but the number of non-fatal injuries in 2018 was more than twice, the report added.
"Hate Crime Watch does not aspire to be an exhaustive record of all hate crimes in the country. We are merely hoping to document the rising incidence, and any related patterns that emerge, so that the state takes notice and begins documenting such crimes," the report added.
State-wise: Most attacks took place in Uttar Pradesh
If we see state-wise, Uttar Pradesh - where the BJP won two big elections one-sidedly in 2014 and 2017 - the number of attacks was the most (27), followed by Bihar (10) where too the BJP is in power in alliance with the Janata Dal (United) since July 2017. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka are next in the line with seven incidents each. While Gujarat remains a BJP-ruled state, Rajasthan too was under its rule excepting a few weeks in 2018 while Karnataka is under the coalition rule of the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress since May this year. UP and Rajasthan saw four deaths each while Karnataka and Jharkhand, also a BJP-ruled state, saw three deaths each.
Of 81 incidents of attacks in 2018 in which the religion of the victims was known, it was found that 49 or 60 per cent were against Muslims while 14 per cent against Christians. A Sikh was a victim in one incident. Hindus, on the other hand, were victims in 25 per cent or 20 attacks in 2018, the report said.
Hate Crime Watch has recorded 280 incidents of attacks since 2009 that led to 100 deaths and injuries to at least 692. It was also reported that since 2009, 156 of 191 attacks (82%) involved Hindus as alleged attackers while 33 attacks (17%) involved Muslims. In 89 cases, the religion of the alleged perpetrators went unreported.