Saturday 24th Feb 2024
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India

Hindutva Watch, a Hate Crime Tracker, Blocked Before Indian Election Season

Hindutva Watch is a research project based in the United States that focuses on the documentation of hate crimes against religious minorities in India. Their website is no longer available in India, following a government warning that it could be blocked. This comes after their X account has already been blocked in the country.
In addition to this, India Hate Lab, which is dedicated to the tracking of hate speech, has also been blocked within India.
The founder of both projects, Raqib Hameed Naik, has stated that he is “exploring legal options.” Hindutva Watch in particular has become a database documenting both hate speech and violence against religious minorities in India, which has gone up in recent years with the rise of Hindu nationalism.
According to statistics, the project has recorded two to four instances of hate events happening every day, which is roughly double the number of reported incidents in the previous year.
India has faced heavy criticism from the Indian diaspora across the globe, stating that the current government looks to censor any viewpoint which sheds light on the treatment of religious minorities in India. Supporting this is the data from the World Press Freedom Index, where India dropped to 161st place out of 180 countries in 2023, compared to their placement of 150th in 2022. India previously placed at 140th in 2014, upon Modi’s ascension to the Prime Minister’s office.
This censorship casts a large doubt over the potential validity of the 2024 National elections which are likely to be held in April-May 2024. Modi’s BJP party has used nationalistic, pro-Hindu rhetoric to fuel hate against minorities and to garner votes.