India experiencing rise in anti-Muslim hate speech, research group says

A recent report by Washington-based research group, India Hate Lab, revealed that incidents of anti-Muslim hate speech in India surged by 62% in the second half of 2023 compared to the first six months of the year.

According to Reuters, the research group attributed this increase to the Israel-Gaza conflict, documenting a total of 668 hate speech incidents targeting Muslims in 2023, with 498 of these occurring in states governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were highlighted as hotspots for hate speech incidents.

The report also pointed out various controversial policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that have drawn criticism for their alleged discriminatory impact on Muslims. These include a 2019 citizenship law labeled as “fundamentally discriminatory” by the U.N. human rights office, anti-conversion legislation challenging freedom of belief, and the revocation of Muslim-majority Kashmir’s special status in 2019.

Additionally, incidents such as demolitions of Muslim properties and bans on wearing the hijab in classrooms have further raised concerns about minority rights in India.

India Hate Lab conducted its research by tracking online activities of Hindu nationalist groups, verifying videos of hate speech on social media, and compiling data from isolated incidents reported by Indian media sources.

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