Hate speech against Muslims on the rise in India – India Hate Lab Report!

Hatreds are on the rise worldwide, usually because of the deliberate differentiation of an individual or a particular group from others by identifying them based on religion, caste, language, race, or color, and inciting communalism.

In this context, India Hate Lab, a research institute, released a report titled “Report 2023: Hate Speech Events in India” on its website and social media pages on February 26 regarding the prevailing anti-Muslim sentiments in India. ‘India Hate Lab’ is a Washington D.C.-based research group run by a dedicated team of journalists, academicians, and researchers. It aims to document, study, and analyze hate speech, misinformation, and conspiracy theories that target India’s religious minorities, both in the digital realm and in offline spaces.

What does the India Hate Lab 2023 report say?

In 2023, the India Hate Lab (IHL) documented 668 instances of hate speech targeting Muslims in this report. Of this, 255 events have been recorded in the first half of 2023 alone. Meanwhile, in the second half of the year, hate incidents increased by 62% to 413 incidents, the report said.

Of these, 498 (75%) events took place in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states and Union Territories and the National Capital (NCT) of Delhi. Out of the top eight states with the highest incidence of hate speech, 6 states are ruled by the BJP throughout the year. The other two states held legislative elections in 2023 and were ruled by the BJP for part of the year. Among these eight states, especially Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, rank top in the hate speech.

Of the hate speech, 420 instances expressed anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and 239 instances directly called for violence against Muslims. It also noted that organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, in alliance with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), were particularly responsible for 216 (32%) cases. Similarly, Gau Raksha Dal, an organization dedicated to cow protection, is at the forefront of hate propaganda.

And the report claims that 41 incidents of hate speech occurred in India alone during the Hamas-Israel war. This accounts for about 21% of hate speech in the last three months of 2023. Similarly, 28 incidents of hate speech have occurred against Muslim women alone in 2023.

According to this data, in India alone in 2023, an average of almost two incidents of anti-Muslim hate speech per day took place and out of every four incidents, three incidents (i.e. 75 percent incidents) took place in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, the report said.

The report also said that they are inciting violence against Muslims through conspiracy theories like especially “Love Jihad”, “Land Jihad”, “Halal Jihad”, “Population Jihad”, “UPSC Jihad”, “Mazar Jihad”, “Economic Jihad”, “Spit Jihad”, and “Fertilizer Jihad”.

Hate speech against Muslims by State:

Hate speech events were geographically widespread across the entire country. Across India with 18 states, three Union Territories, and Delhi (NCT), a total of 668 hate speech incidents were documented. However, the majority of hate speech incidents are concentrated in North, Central, and Western India. It can be seen that states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and North Eastern states are the states that cause hate incidents in zero numbers.

Maharashtra is the worst affected state, with about 118 events (18%) taking place in the state, even though it only constitutes about 9.3% of India’s population. Uttar Pradesh is next with 104 cases of hate speech.

Top contributors to dangerous speech:

The report also states that India’s five speakers are responsible for 146 hate speech incidents (22%). Among them are BJP legislators T Raja Singh and Nitesh Rane, AHP Chief Pravin Togadia, far-right influencer Kajal Shingala, Sudarshan News owner Suresh Chavhanke, Hindu religious leaders Yati Narsinghanand, Kalicharan Maharaj, Sadhvi Saraswati Mishra are the top eight speakers responsible for most hate speeches.

LINKS:

Hate Speech Events in India – India Hate Lab Report 2023

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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