Hate Crime Watch by IndiaSpend

By FactChecker
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As national crime data do not distinguish between violent crime and crime motivated by religious hatred, Hate Crime Watch is the first statistical perspective to a growing phenomenon of such violence.

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About The Database

There has been a rise in hate violence nationwide, especially on the pretext of cow protection and “love jihad”. Despite the numerous cases that community and human rights organisations are bringing to public notice, there is official denial of the scale of this violence.

Even as India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) collates information on a wide range of crimes, it does not count hate crimes. This contrasts with official data-collection in democracies with diverse populations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, where the state is required to publish regular reports on hate crimes.

While we must continue to hope and demand that the state collects and publishes credible data of hate crimes, civil society must develop a robust tracking of hate crime in India--irrespective of religious persuasion.

That’s where the Citizen's Religious Hate-Crime Watch (Hate Crime Watch, in short) comes in. The project is a multi-organisation effort steered by FactChecker.in, in collaboration with Aman Biradari and NewsClick.in.

The data collection for Hate Crime Watch is modelled on other similar experiments across the world. In this first phase, we collated and cross-verified reports of religious hate crime from English language print and online media sources.

Why religion-based hate crime?

For the purpose of this database, we collated data on crimes motivated partly or wholly by prejudice against the religion of the victim(s).

While we did consider including caste violence, encounter killings and terror incidents, we zeroed in on religious hate crime because the NCRB already collects data on the other categories of violence mentioned above.

However, religious hate crimes are lost under various sections such as rioting, arson and attempt to murder or murder, which makes it difficult to estimate the scale of violence.

Why English media reports?

English language print and online media tend to have the widest national coverage, and are easily verifiable and hold up to scrutiny.

When we chose to pick English media for the first phase, we realise that there would be some undercounting because of the language barrier. However, the Hate Crime Watch is not aspiring to be an exhaustive record of all hate crimes in the country. We are merely hoping to document the rising incidence, and any patterns that emerge therein so that the state takes notice and begins documenting such crimes.

An example of how this could be achieved is our database on cow-related violence. Back in June 2017, we began tracking incidents of such violence. The NCRB had told the media in July 2017 that they intend to record data on lynchings. However, nine months into this year, the Bureau has not released any data on crimes in India for the year 2017.

A petition in the Supreme Court around lynchings saw the mention of our database as a reliable source of documentation of the pattern of violence.

Who are we?

FactChecker.in is India’s first dedicated fact-checking initiative. Since early 2013, FactChecker.in has been scrutinising and researching for veracity and context, statements made by individuals in public life, as well as picking up on issues where there is a strong need to examine data that are in public domain. FactChecker.in is an initiative of The Spending & Policy Research Foundation, which also runs www.indiaspend.org, India’s first data journalism initiative.

Aman Biradari is a people’s campaign for a secular, peaceful, just and humane world. It aspires to build local level institutions mainly of youth and women, of diverse faith, caste and gender, at village and district levels to strengthen mutual bonds of tolerance, fraternity, respect and peace between people of different religious groups, caste and language groups, to promote equal citizenship, justice, communal harmony, peace, and the celebration of our social and cultural diversity.

Newsclick is a member-supported English language progressive, online video news network. Launched in 2009 by Prabir Purkayastha, an engineer and a science activist in the power, telecom and software sectors, Newsclick covers and analyses key issues in today's world from points of view virtually missing from the coverage of the dominant corporate media, and does not accept funding from advertising, government or corporations.

The Advisory Board

Ajit Prakash Shah is the former Chairman of the 20th Law Commission of India. Justice Shah was appointed Additional Judge of Bombay High Court on December 18, 1992, and became a permanent Judge of Bombay High Court on April 8, 1994. He assumed charge as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court on November 12, 2005. He was the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court from May 2008 till his retirement in February 2010.

Chaman Lal joined the Indian Police Service on June 30, 1964, in Madhya Pradesh. He held important posts at different ranks in his parent cadre and in Punjab and Nagaland including that of Director General of Police. He has also served, on deputation, in the Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Special Protection Group. Chaman Lal was an officer on special duty to the Shah Commission which inquired into the excesses during the Emergency. He last served as special rapporteur of the National Human Rights Commission.

Maja Daruwala is currently Senior Advisor at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), particularly focussing on the Access to Justice Programme. She was Director of CHRI for twenty years, until September 2016. Maja has been working to advocate for rights and social justice for over forty years. A barrister by training, she is actively engaged in numerous human rights initiatives, and concentrates on issues relating to civil liberties including police reform, prison reform, right to information, legal empowerment, non-discrimination, women's rights, freedom of expression, and human rights advocacy capacity building. Maja’s interests lie particularly in the area of systemic reforms. She works tirelessly to demystify human rights, and simplify technical issues of law and policy, for a variety of audiences. She focuses on mechanisms to reduce the distance between the standard and the practise.



Mohsin Alam Bhat, assistant professor at the Jindal Global Law School, and executive-director, the Centre for Public Interest Law.

Harsh Mander, author and human-rights organiser.

Prabir Purkayastha, founder-editor, Newsclick

Samar Halarnkar, Alison Saldanha & Karthik Madhavapeddi, FactChecker.in


Devyani Chhetri, Jay Hazare, Pranav Rajput & Angel Mohan: Interns with FactChecker.in

Tejasvini Puri, Anant Sangal, Rishabh Bajoria & Rohini Thyagarajan: Law students


Alison Saldanha, assistant editor, FactChecker.in

Karthik Madhavapeddi, news editor, FactChecker.in


Shoili Kanungo, designer, NewsClick.

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Contact Us

If you are have any questions for us, please email us at hatecrimewatch@factchecker.in with the subject: Questions On Hate Crime Watch

If you think we missed specific incidents, please use this form to tell us about them.