Indian Government Halts Tracking Hate Crimes

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The Indian state holds its own share of hate crimes against its population. So, it makes sense that the current government will go to any extent to destroy any form of tracking it.

Bobby Ghosh, former editor of the Hindustan Times (HT) abruptly “left” the paper after 16-months. Ghosh has an impressive resume -- he was the managing editor of Quartz and editor of TIME magazine’s international edition before joining the HT team.

Ghosh’s exit came on September 11, 2017, shortly after a meeting between PM Modi and Shobhana Bhartia, the owner of HT.

HT under Ghosh launched a Hate Tracker on July 28, 2017. It was meant to be a national database of hate crimes -- it would “track acts of violence, threats of violence, and incitements to violence based on religion, caste, race, ethnicity, region of origin, gender identity and sexual orientation,” in India starting from September 2015.

HT stated that there is a lack of information on power and the influence of hate. Their goal with the Hate Tracker was to expose the extent of the problem.

The government was not fond of this initiative and it is believed to be the primary reason behind Ghosh’s removal. Two days after Ghosh’s exit, the HT team was directed by the chief-content director to halt any retweets of Hate Tracker-related tweets “until further notice.” For the short period that the Hate Tracker was active, it showed the disproportionate number of acts of violence committed against Muslims and Dalits.

This frustrated Modi supporters, including the right-wing news outlet, Opindia, which claimed that the Hate Tracker was a “one-sided tool for bigotry.” The last update on the Hate Tracker was done on September 19, 2017.

The URL for the project is no longer active and there is one less public medium available to hold the government accountable.

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