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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Indian-origin people among rising hate crime targets

The majority of hate crimes were related to race (76 per cent), while those linked to religion show that 47 per cent affected Muslims, 3 per cent Sikhs (188 incidents), 2 per cent Hindus (114 incidents) and 19 incidents affected Buddhists.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2019 23:03 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Community members take part in a protest to demand stop hate crime.
Community members take part in a protest to demand stop hate crime. (Photo: Reuters)
         

There were over 100,000 incidents of hate crime recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2018-19, including many affecting members of the Indian community and those following Islam, Hindu and Sikh faiths, official figures released on Tuesday show.

The Home Office said the increasing numbers of hate crime are mainly driven by improvements in crime recording, but also show a spike after the 2016 EU referendum and terror attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.

The majority of hate crimes were related to race (76 per cent), while those linked to religion show that 47 per cent affected Muslims, 3 per cent Sikhs (188 incidents), 2 per cent Hindus (114 incidents) and 19 incidents affected Buddhists.

Overall, 103,379 hate crimes were recorded in 2018-19, an increase of 10 per cent compared with 2017-18 (94,121 offences).

Some Hindu temples and gurdwaras in various parts of the country have faced attacks in recent months and years, prompting the Home Office to offer funding to install security apparatus at religious institutions.

“In April 2016, the Home Office began collecting information from the police on the perceived religion of victims of religious hate crime. By perceived, we mean the religion targeted by the offender. While in the majority of offences the perceived and actual religion of the victim will be the same, in some cases this will differ”, an official statement said.

“For example, if anti-Muslim graffiti is sprayed on a religious temple of another faith, this would be recorded as an offence of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage and flagged by the respective police force as a religious hate crime against Muslims”, it added.

Hate crime is recorded according to five strands: race or ethnicity; religion or beliefs; sexual orientation; disability; and transgender identity. Some incidents may have one or more motivating factor.

The College of Policing’s guidance on race related hate crime says: “Race hate crime can include any group defined by race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin, including countries within the UK, and Gypsy or Irish Travellers”.

“It automatically includes a person who is targeted because they are an asylum seeker or refugee as this is intrinsically linked to their ethnicity and origins. Policy and legislation takes a ‘human rights’ approach and covers majority as well as minority groups.”