India Hate Lab (IHL)

LA TIMES: Hate crimes and hate speech are on the rise in India. Meet the trackers

MUMBAI  —  On a hot humid day in early June, Hindu activist Sambhaji Salunkhe delivered a charged speech in the city of Kolhapur, rehashing far-right conspiracy theories about Muslim men who allegedly court Hindu women so they will marry and convert to Islam.

His audience was already incensed about an Instagram post, uploaded the day before by a couple of local Muslim teenagers, praising the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, a 17th-century ruler regarded as an oppressor by far-right Hindus and a hero by many Muslims. When Salunkhe told the throng to assemble the following morning to protest, the crowd roared its approval.

At 8 a.m. the following day, about 5,000 Hindus converged at the designated spot in Kolhapur. The gathering quickly transformed into a mob that vandalized and ransacked Muslim-owned shops, vehicles and homes.

Read More