Amnesty International India launches website to document hate crimes

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New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Amnesty International India on Thursday launched an interactive data website ‘Halt the Hate in order to draw attention to alarming number of alleged hate crimes against marginalised groups in the country.

The website documents hate crimes against Dalits, Adivasis, members of racial or religious minority groups, transgender persons, and other marginalised people which are reported in mainstream English and Hindi media, the rights group said in a release

The first step to ensuring justice and ending impunity for hate crimes – where people are targeted because of their membership of a particular group – is to highlight their occurrence, said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India.

“Our website aims to draw attention to some of these crimes by tracking and documenting them. Many of these incidents are deeply disturbing: Dalits have been attacked for merely sporting moustaches, and Muslims lynched for transporting cattle. Dalit women have been branded as witches, and raped and killed.

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“Unfortunately, the extent of hate crime in India is unknown because the law – with some exceptions – does not recognise hate crimes as specific offences. The police need to take steps to unmask any potentially discriminatory motive in a crime, and political leaders must be more vocal in denouncing such violence,” he said, as per the release.

The website documents alleged hate crimes from September 2015, when Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, for allegedly killing a cow.

Cow-related violence and so-called ‘honour’ killings were among the common instances of alleged hate crimes, it added.

Uttar Pradesh was the state with the most such incidents in 2016 and 2017.

In 2016, 237 alleged hate crimes were recorded and Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat recorded the most incidents.

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“The data on our website is just a snapshot of alleged hate crimes in India. Many incidents are not reported in the media. While criminal investigations have been initiated in some cases, too many have gone unpunished. Authorities need to do much more to ensure justice for victims and their families,” Patel said.

–IANS

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