Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — A study done at the University of Massachusetts on “Majoritarian Politics and Hate Crimes against Religious Minorities in India” found that there is a close and causal relationship between the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the exponential increase in the hate crimes against religious minorities of India.
The study, undertaken by Deepankar Basu, Assistant Professor, of the incidences of hate crimes occured during 2009- 2018 shows that the country has witnessed an increase of 786 per cent in the hate crimes after 2014 Lok Sabha elections in comparison to the period of 2009-2014.
The study released in August this year, says that during 2009-2018 a total of 275 religious hate crime were committed. Out of 275, 22 incidents were reported during 2009-2014 Lok Sabha elections and 195 incidents of hate crimes were reported between June 2014 and the end of 2018.
“For the whole period of analysis covered in this paper, there was a total of 275 religious hate crimes, of which 217, or 80 per cent, were hate crimes committed against religious minorities (Muslims, Christians and Sikhs). Of the total hate crimes against religious minorities, 78.34 per cent were against Muslims, 19.35 per cent were against Christians and 2.3 per cent were against Sikhs,” noted Basu in his study.
The study noted that after Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, more than 80 per cent of hate crimes were committed against Muslims. “The incidence of hate crimes against religious minorities (after 2014 Lok Sabha elections) were classified as follows: Muslims (83:08%), Christians (14:87%), and Sikhs (2:05%). The vast majority of hate crimes are now committed against Muslims, whereas both Christians and Sikhs see a decline in the proportion of hate crimes targeting them”.
On the fact that if there is a close relationship between the political dominance of the BJP and the sharp increase in the hate crimes against the religious minorities especially Muslims, Basu in his study noted, “Since BJP’s core politics is unmistakably majoritarian and exclusivist in orientation, it is natural to ask if the two – BJP’s rise to dominance and an increase in hate crimes against religious minorities – are causally linked. In this paper, I have investigated this question empirically with a unique data set from a recently formed citizen’s religious hate crime watch website. Using a difference in research design, I find that BJP’s rise to political dominance caused a significant increase in the incidence of hate crimes against religious minorities”.
The samples were collected from about 27 states and one union territory, Delhi. The top 10 states in terms of the total number of incidents of hate crimes are, in descending order: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir (and Madhya Pradesh). Most of the states in these top ten are BJP-ruled now.
The study noted that since 2014, the country witnessed a little increase in hate crimes against majority community (Hindus) too.
Basu suggested that the role of the BJP needs to be investigated in the context of anti-minority violence in India and the law should be made against mob violence and hate crimes.
“Expressing concern at the rising wave of anti-minority lynching, many prominent people and celebrities in India recently wrote to the Prime Minister of the country to take decisive and swift action. While the legislative actions are necessary, it must be complemented with efforts to strengthen the progressive movement in society to deal with such a serious problem that is gravely undermining the democratic republic of India,” noted Basu.