India witnessed over 200 suspected hate crimes, including cow-related lynchings and honour killings, in 2018 with Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat topping the list, Amnesty India said on Tuesday.

Releasing the data, which it collected through media reports, recorded on its interactive website ‘Halt the Hate’, it said of the 218 incidents of alleged hate crimes reported last year, 142 were against Dalits, 50 against Muslims, and eight each aga…and eight each against Christians, Adivasis and transgenders.

Uttar Pradesh topped the list in 2018 with 57 such incidents followed by Gujarat (22), Rajasthan (18), Tamil Nadu (16) and Bihar (14). This is for the third consecutive year that Uttar Pradesh reported to have the highest number of hate crimes, with 50 incidents in 2017 and 60 incidents in 2016.

Since September 2015, when ‘Halt the Hate’ started tracking hate crimes after the killing of Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri after a mob accused him of killing a cow, there have been 721 incidents of suspected hate crimes, “a vast majority of which have been against Dalits and Muslims”.

Karnataka has reported 34 incidents since September 2015. In 2015, there were four incidents reported while it rose to seven in 2016 and 15 in 2017. Last year saw Karnataka witnessing eight hate crimes, according to ‘Halt the Hate’.

Ninety-seven incidents of assault and 87 killings were reported during this period. “40 incidents were reported where women from marginalized groups or transgender persons faced sexual violence. Dalit women, in particular, faced a disproportionate amount of sexual violence, facing 33 out of 40 incidents of sexual violence,” it said.

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

Commenting on the findings, Amnesty India’s head Aakar Patel said that the first step to ensuring justice and ending impunity for hate crimes is to highlight their occurrence.

“Unfortunately, the true extent of hate crimes in India is unknown because the law – with some exceptions – does not recognize 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.

He said the data they have collected is “only a snapshot” of alleged hate crimes and is not comprehensive by any means. “Many incidents are not reported to the police, and even when they are, many do not make it to mainstream media. While criminal investigations have been initiated in some cases, several have gone unpunished. Authorities need to do much more to ensure justice for victims and their families,” he said.

Courtesy :deccanherald

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