[Answered] “India has begun to feature prominently on a growing list of countries marked by hate crime, including hate speech in electoral campaigns”. Critically examine. Discuss various consequences of hate crimes. Also, suggest some measures to stop hate crimes.

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Demand of the question
Introduction. Discuss hate crimes.
Body. Write about hate crimes in India. Discuss various consequences of hate crime.
Conclusion. Way forward and some measures.

Hate crime is incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons of any race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like. They may be isolated, or may be the work of few individuals acting on their own.

Hate crime in India:

  1. Studies of hate crimes in India show that they have steadily risen over the past five years. Amnesty International India documented 721 such incidents between 2015 and 2018. Last year alone, it tracked 218 hate crimes, which were against Dalits, Muslims, women, Christians, Adivasis, and transgenders. The more common hate crimes, they found, were honour killings and ‘cow-related violence’, that was rare earlier but has become more frequent over the past five years.
  2. According to Hate Crime Watch, crimes based on religious identity were in single digits until 2014, when they surged from 9 in 2013 to 92 in 2018. Uttar Pradesh topped the list of States with the largest number of hate crimes for the third year, followed by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
  3. The Hate-Crime Watch records that Muslims, who comprise 14% of India’s population, were the victims in 62% of cases and Christians, 2% of the population, in 14% of cases. Hindus, constituting the majority or 80% of the population, were victims in 10% (25) of the cases. In many cases, the crimes were communal clashes prima facie motivated by a religious bias, where the victims’ religious identity could not be clearly ascertained from the news reports.
  4. In 2018, the Supreme Court directed Central and State governments to make it widely known that lynching and mob violence would ‘invite serious consequence under the law’ (Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India & Ors). In a May 2019 report, Human Rights Watch India pointed out that only some States had complied with the Supreme Court’s orders to designate a senior police officer in every district to prevent incidents of mob violence and ensure that the police take prompt action. Those State governments that did comply, the report commented, did so only partially. In several instances, the police actually obstructed investigations, even filing charges against the victims.

Various Causes of hate crimes-

  1. Historical underpinnings- Any historical enmity between various religious  or societal groups can motivate them to do hate crimes. Hindu Muslim conflict are the major reason for hate. After learn about history and various communal incidents through any media, it may motivate them to take revenge.
  2. Politically motivated- Often vote bank politics, use various communal or emotional tools to garner vote of few groups by inciting hatred in them. They use false stories, news, etc to incite such incidents.
  3. Consensus in society- Sometimes society in general accept hatred against a particular group or nation based on past experience of atrocities. E.g many groups see refugees or migrated people as their enemies.
  4. Illiteracy- Lack of education prevent overall development of an individual. Still about 23% of population in India is illiterate. This prevent development of tolerance and understanding of individuality in them.
  5. Unemployment- Increasing unemployment lead to development of feeling of hatred against a particular group especially refugees and migrated one. People see them as an enemy and one who snatches there rights. This phenomenon is worldwide.
  6. Prejudice and bias- Bias toward a particular group can be a reason for hate crimes. E.g upper caste is seen as enemies by many Dalits. It can incite hate crime against them without making any difference between culprit and innocent.
  7. Patriarchy- This hold true mainly in case of hate crime against women. Honour killing of women is mainly due to patriarchal mindset where women is attached to one’s falsified honour and women seen as an object tied to family respect.
  8. Lack of strong laws- Lack of strong and clear laws lead to culprit roam free and increase their confidence of not getting punished for their act. Poor implementation of laws is another reason.
  9. Social media- Social media has grown immensely in recent times. It’s impact is enormous on a society. Fake news, propagandas are often invoked on social media against a particular group to destabilise a society.

Way forward-

  1. The Rajasthan administration is introducing a Bill prohibiting cow vigilantism, but that deals with only one hate crime. Parliament should enact an act against hate crime, and the benchmarks for policemen and administrators to deal with hate crime should be set. Germany, for example, amended Section 46 of its Criminal Procedure Code, dealing with sentencing in violent crime, to say the sentence must be based on consideration of ‘the motives and aims of the offender, particularly where they are of a racist or xenophobic nature or where they show contempt for human dignity’.
  2. The legislature and political parties should suspend or dismiss members who are implicated in hate crimes or practise hate speech. Strict disciplinary act should be taken against such individuals and parties.
  3. The electronic and print media should stop showing or publishing hateful comments and threats. Any act of incitement of hatred should be punished by cancelling license or through imprisonment or fine.
  4. Values of tolerance and respect that are common to all religions should be preached and schools should revitalise courses on the directive principles of our Constitution.

For a demographically diverse country such as India, hate crimes — including crimes of contempt — are a disaster. Each of our religious and caste communities number in the millions, and crimes that are directed against any of these groups could result in a magnitude of disaffection that impels violence, even terrorism.

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