Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)—formed in 2002 to seek justice for the victims of the communal carnage in Gujarat—has set out to use technology to report and avert incidents of hate crimes and violence across the country.
In a step that is a first in India, CJP has launched the ‘Hate Hatao’ application for Android phones, using which citizens can record and report any hate crime that they happen to be a witness to.
Launched on the 71st anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi—on 30 January 2019—the app comes at a time when the country has seen an unprecedented rise in hate crimes such as mob lynchings of people from Dalit and Muslim communities by gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes).
The Hate Hatao app will enable citizens to report to CJP any instances of hate speech, threats, and hate crimes with the appropriate evidence—such as a screenshot, video or picture. App users can also report instances of harassment, discrimination and bigotry.
CJP will then take this up as a complaint to the authorities such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Press Council of India (PCI), the National Broadcasters Association (NBA), Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms or law enforcement agencies.
CJP will also lodge FIRs and pursue the cases in court. The app user will receive real-time updates on the status of the report.
“We are launching this App #HateHatao as a means to not simply monitor and track the spread of different kinds of hate (speech, action and writing) but to also spread an understanding and awareness of the difference and nuances between free speech and hate speech,” said CJP in a press release.
CJP, helmed by civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad along with other social activists, intends to track the escalation of hate crimes “to chart and understand how hate builds”.
This will become part of CJP’s Peace Map initiative, which won an award from NASSCOM in 2015 for Innovation and Technology. This will “help us predict and hopefully prevent possible outbreaks of violence that so often stem from hate.”
“Hate Hatao is part of CJP’s Hate Watch campaign, which spreads awareness and understanding about speech that incites hate and violence against minorities and marginalised groups.”
The Hate Hatao app intends to arm citizens with a tool to respond to and defend against attacks on their own and others’ rights and freedoms.