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Hate Crimes in India

Hate Crimes in India

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) quashed Hate Crime proceedings initiated against a senior journalist for a Facebook post.
  • The SC ruled that petitioners’ social media post was only an expression of truth in the face of persecution.

What Is Hate Crime?

  • Hate crime is a crime, typically involving violence, that is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds.
  • Hate Crimes could be defined as an attack on a person’s rights entrusted to him thereby affecting not only him but the social structure as a whole
  • It targets a victim because of their membership to a certain social group or race.
  • In India, hate speech is prohibited which is based upon religion, ethnicity, culture or race
  • Amnesty International India documented 721 hate crime incidents between 2015 and 2018. 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.

Indian Laws Against Hate Crimes
Though the term is nowhere mentioned in any statute, its different forms are identified across the laws.

  • The IPC under Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 505(1) and 505(2)25 declares that word, spoken or written, that promotes disharmony, hatred, or insults on basis of religion, ethnicity, culture, language, region, caste, community, race etc., is punishable under law.
  • Some other laws which contain provisions concerning hate speech and its prevention are:
    • The Representation of People Act, 1951.
    • Information Technology Act 2000.
    • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Causes Of Hate Crimes

  • A bias against the any group due to historical or social reasons can motivate an individual to commit a hate crime.
  • It can be done to retaliate as an act of revenge. Hate Crimes in India
  • Discrimination based on caste may give rise to an environment where hate crime is motivated.
  • Misguidance of youth who are vulnerable and can be easily manipulated or can do it as an act of adventure motivated by thrill and excitement.
  • Result of defence against any perceived and presumed threat from other social group.
  • Influenced by perception that certain groups pose a threat to them such as perceived competition over jobs, housing and other resources, and physical harm to themselves or others which are concerned with the threat posed to people’s values and social norms.

Measures To Stop Hate Crimes In India

  • Sensitisation towards the rights of other citizens and danger of hate crimes for social cohesion.
  • Community must be aware of the Problem to intentionally identify and eradicate the issue
  • Partnership between community and law enforcement will help to prevent and respond to hate crimes.
  • Strong Law Enforcement and Prioritising Hate Crimes
  • Involvement of Youth to spread awareness among them as they are more vulnerable to violent attacks, bullying, and other forms of harassment. Hate Crimes in India
  • Creation of a Special Task Force on Hate Crimes focussing on improving efficiencies of law enforcement, assistance to victims, and strengthening the partnership between law enforcement and the community.
  • Training of new recruits and existing officers and deputies in the police department on hate crimes and other related issues to ensure effective implementation of law.

Challenges  [Hate Crimes in India]

  • Internationally, India has begun to feature prominently on a growing list of countries marked by hate crime, including hate speech in electoral campaigns.
  • Unawareness among law enforcement agencies about laws against hate crime
  • Fear to use them in areas whose political leaders mobilise through hate speech.
  • Worldwide data show that hate speech encourages or legitimises acts of violence
  • In religiously motivated hate crimes, the accused are often released on bail, and the prosecution of suspects can take years.
  • The true extent of hate crimes in India is unknown because the law – with some exceptions – does not recognize hate crimes as specific offences.  Hate Crimes in India


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