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India: Citizen’s Against Hate report on lynchings and religiously motivated vigilante violence

23 September 2017

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This report by Citizen’s Against Hate is the result of fact finding investigation of lynchings and vigilante violence, conducted through July 2017. Constituents that took part in the fact finding study were:

  • Aman Biradari Trust, New Delhi
  • Anjuman Islamiya, Ranchi
  • Quill Foundation, New Delhi
  • Misaal, New Delhi
  • Yuva Ekta Jagruk Manch, Nuh, Haryana
  • Afkar India Foundation, Shamli, Uttar Pradesh

This is a report on hate-inspired violence against minorities in India – these crimes variously called lynchings, vigilante violence, murders - of which there has been a spate in recent times. An overwhelming majority of these attacks have been against Muslims, although Dalits too are targeted often. Most of these are bovine (cow and beef) related, with vigilante groups who consider the bovine, holy, accusing victims of smuggling cattle, slaughtering cows, possessing beef, or just being beef eaters. Worth noting here is that India has strict laws against cow slaughter and for their protection with twenty four states in India already having some sort of a law either prohibiting or limiting the slaughter of cows and other cattle. But vigilantism against minorities is not limited to cow and beef. Inter-faith couples and their relatives have been the target of many attacks, as have some Muslims who have been lynched without attributing any specific offence to them.

Such attacks and violence mark a shift in the method, from mass violence like communal riots to low-intensity individualised ones, as a part of a strategy to escape "public scrutiny". "Of late, lynching and vigilante attacks have become the instrument of choice for violence against minorities – particularly Muslims," the report points out.The report also mentions the "impunity of state and private actors" in cases of hate crime, ensures that the hate violence persists and highlights the "poor working of the criminal justice system".

Download and read the full report

Lynching Without End: Fact-finding investigation into religiously-motivated vigilante violence in India
Published by Citizen’s Against Hate Collective | September 2017, New Delhi