New Delhi: In a project monitoring hate crimes and hate speech across six north Indian states since October 2021, The Wire’s Heartland Hatewatch has quantified at least 89 instances of reported hate crimes and hate speeches across four months in the lead up to the 2022 assembly elections.
These incidents took place across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Haryana.
Here, hate crimes are defined as physical acts of aggression against the property and person of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of religion.
Hate speech is defined as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or uses pejorative, proxy or discriminatory language, including dog-whistling, with reference to a person or a group on the basis of their religious identity, intended to reach a mass audience.
In the five months since we started our tracker, there were 53 reported hate crimes across these states. This number is not representative of the on-ground reality, but provides a snapshot of the increase in religiously motivated hate crimes in the run up to the elections.