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This article is written by Vanya Verma from O.P. Jindal Global University. This article deals with hate crimes and how to report them in India.

Introduction 

In recent years, the Indian subcontinent has seen a sharp increase in hate crime events. Incidents in this category usually involve mob violence against an individual or a group of individuals from a particular social group, usually over religious issues, causing havoc in the broader social structure. Hate crimes are frequently motivated by hatred and a biased attitude and are intended to send a message to a specific portion of society in order to instil fear and make a statement. 

The role of racial/caste discrimination or prejudice as the motivation for the criminal act is a prevalent defining feature of hate crimes in India. The hate crimes take the form of rape, physical assaults, murders, or violent attacks, the underlying purpose is prejudice towards a person because of their membership in a certain group. 

What are hate crimes 

Hate crimes are criminal acts done with a biased motive, according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Also known as “bias-motivated crime” or “bias crime,” they are not a legal offence, but rather a concept that happens when a perpetrator targets a victim from a specific social group.

Hate crime refers to criminal acts motivated by prejudice towards a person or a group of people because of differences in their religious beliefs and customs. In modern times, its definition has broadened to include insulting, disparaging, or violent remarks, in addition to lynching, discrimination, and offensive comments. As a result of all of this, society’s balance and order are disrupted. It has a profound effect on its victims, both psychologically and physically, resulting in their mental and bodily deterioration.

The purpose behind the act must be considered when determining whether a crime is a hate crime or a prejudiced crime. A hate crime is usually motivated by prejudice or hatred directed towards another person or social group based on differences in race, religion, ethnicity, customs, behaviours, or other factors. It has a far-reaching psychological and emotional impact on the sufferer. 

Thus, Hate Crimes can be described as an attack on a person’s rights that have been entrusted to him, hurting not just him but the entire societal system, making it more horrific than many other criminal offences.

Examples of hate crimes

Examples of hate crimes are as follows:

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault or harassment
  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Hate messages
  • Causing alarm or distress 

File a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of India 

Procedure to file an online complaint 

Go to the website and you will be asked to fill out these details.

Note 

  • Please use the Internet Explorer browser with a popup allowed in browser settings.
  • Fill in details in the English language only.

Your details

1.NameMention Complete Name.
2.SexSelect Gender from the list.
3.AddressMention Complete address for Correspondence.
4.StateSelect the name of your State from the list.
5.DistrictSelect name of your District from the list.
6.PIN CODE of your locality, email-id and mobile no., if available

Victim details

7.NameMention complete name of the victim.
8.AddressMention Complete address of the victim.
9.StateSelect name of State from the list, from. where the victim belongs to.
10.DistrictSelect the name of the District from the list, from where the victim belongs to.
11.SexSelect Gender of the victim from the list, If the number of victims are more than one then Select ‘Group’ option.
12.PIN CODE of locality, if available.
13.DisabilitySelect the disability status of the victim from the list.
14.AgeMention age of the victim in years.
15.ReligionSelect Religion of the victim from the list.
16.CasteSelect Caste of the victim from the list.

Incident details

17.PlaceMention exact place of incident i.e. locality, Village, Town, City.
18.StateSelect Name of State from the list, where incident occurred.
19.DistrictSelect Name of District from the list, where incident occurred.
20.Incident DateMention incident date (Date/Month/Year).
21.Incident CategorySelect incident category from the list with whom the incident relates to.
22.Incident Sub-CategorySelect incident sub- category from the list which specifically shows the nature of incident
23.Write complaintBrief summary of facts/allegations of the incident/complaint.
24.Is it filed before any Court/State Human Rights CommissionSelect the option whether the complaint of the same incident is filed before any Court OR State Human Rights Commission.

Relief details

25.Name, designation & address of the Public ServantMention full details of Public Servant/Authority against whom the complaint is being made.
26.Relief sought forMention full details of relief, which is sought against the human rights violation.

Toll-free number to report hate crimes- 1800-3133-600-00

In India, activists have established a helpline for victims of hate crimes and mob violence, with the goal of documenting such incidents and offering legal assistance to victims.

A toll-free hotline has been established to report hate crimes. United Against Hate, a group of prominent citizens advocating for social justice and peace, has developed a toll-free number 1800-3133-600-00 called Helpline Against Hate.

In as many as 100 places, the number will be ready to assist victims of hate crimes. The hotline was established in response to an increase in hate crimes and mob lynchings being reported around the country.

Apoorvanand said, “It’s past time to recognise, define, and deliberate on hate crime, as many European countries have done. The helpline was necessary since minorities are being persecuted just because of their identity. Hate crimes are not taken seriously by cops”.

This number’s services will be available in both Hindi and English. Volunteers from the United Against Hate collective will take calls and assist victims, while those reporting suspected hate crimes will receive assistance from the police. The collective will also assist victims with FIR registration and other legal requirements.

UAH’s Nadeem Khan revealed that a network of NGOs in 100 towns across India was being enlisted so that advocates could help victims of hate crimes right away.

“Call the helpline even if you sense a mob forming before a crime occurs. Lawyers, activists, and journalists will raise awareness of the situation, and police personnel in the vicinity will be summoned as quickly as possible,” Khan stated.

Other steps one can take 

Call the police

It’s a good idea to call the police and tell them what happened and where the attack occurred. If you are able, provide witness testimony.

Posting on social media

A wave of hate crime films has been circulating on social media. This aids in raising awareness of the incident and identifying the perpetrator. Sharing a video of a crime is not prohibited, though some privacy concerns may arise. It is illegal to share anything that promotes hate crimes or hate speech.

Note down the incident

As quickly as possible after the incident, write down any and all details about the crime. Include the gender, age, height, race, weight, clothing, and other distinctive traits of the perpetrator. Include any threats or discriminatory remarks (such as anti-gay epithets) in the report.

Use your phone to record hate crimes

Recording violent attacks on public streets or in public places is legal. However, because different states have differing recording rules for private property, taping a crime in a private store or building could be illegal.

Remember that recording an attack could draw the assailants’ attention to you, therefore it’s a personal decision.

Obtaining video evidence of hate crimes

Local businesses have caught many recent hate incidents on surveillance cameras. Some family members have started posting videos of their loved one’s attacks on social media and offering rewards for information. You have the right to request a video of the attack, but it is up to the business whether or not they cooperate.

Why should you report hate crimes

The Hate Crimes Reporting Gap refers to the large gap between hate crimes that occur and those reported to law enforcement. Hate crimes must be reported not just to express support and obtain treatment for victims, but also to send a clear message to the community that these crimes will not be tolerated. Reporting hate crimes allows communities and law enforcement to properly grasp the scale of the problem and devote resources to preventing and responding to bias and hate-based attacks.

Hate crimes in India

Hate crime is not a new concept in India. Since the establishment of nations, there have been events involving such crimes, which are mostly based on religion. Apart from religion-based crimes, there was also caste and gender-based violence, and there is no single event that can be pinpointed as the start of Hate Crimes in India. According to a survey by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), India has the highest rate of hate crimes based on caste and religion, followed by gender biases, which are on the rise. Hate crimes in India, such as lynching and hate speeches, harm not only the victim but also entire communities.

According to Hate Crime Watch, there were 282 hate crimes reported in April 2019, with 100 people killed. Muslims were the most common victims of such crimes, accounting for 57% of all incidences, followed by Christians (15%) and Hindus (13%). All of these statistics just demonstrate the disturbing rate at which such crimes occur and how deeply they have infiltrated society.

Hate crimes are unlike any other sort of crime in India because they have a sense of bias related to the motive that is absent in other types of crime. Hate crimes have a distinct type and quality that distinguishes them from other criminal offences, and they are as follows:

  1. Biasness is always the root of hate crimes. Only when there is prejudice does criminal conduct become a hate crime. The selection of a victim based on prejudice based on his religion, community, gender, and other factors should be recognised.
  2. Hate crimes, no matter how diverse in type, are always founded on a criminal offence that is punishable and hence imposes some form of penalty. This establishes hate crime as a criminal offence under domestic law and establishes its criminality. 
  3. Hate crimes are a kind of discrimination at its most extreme. It is committed as a result of a significant disparity in the community, causing the former to discriminate against the latter and, in extreme cases, to commit crimes against them as a result of their prejudices.
  4. When it comes to hate crimes, the target is always an individual or a group of individuals who share conspicuous qualities that cause differences and biases.
  5. Hate crimes can take a variety of forms, ranging from vandalism to physical violence and, in some cases, homicide. Hate crimes are classified according to their level of brutality and cruelty, as well as their impact on society as a whole.

Conclusion

It’s always better to report the crime as soon as it occurred and to contact authorities rather than taking laws in your hands. If one is a victim of hate crime follow the steps given above to obtain immediate relief. 

References


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