Understanding the Psychology behind Hate Crimes

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hatred is a passionate feeling, but unlike love, it leads to a lot of catastrophes and crimes.

Hate crimes are the crimes committed by a person or a group of people who are motivated by the strong feeling of hate towards the victim. It is also known as “bias-motivated” crime. The motivation behind the crime helps us to understand whether the crime is a hate crime or not. Hate Crimes aren’t like all other crime in India and feature a sense of biases attached to the motive which isn’t there with the other sort of crime. there are a particular nature and characteristic of hate crimes which makes it differentiable from the other criminal offences and that they are as follows:s

  • Hate Crimes though different in nature is usually supported a criminal offence which is penal and thus imposes some sort of punishment. This makes hate crime an offence under domestic legal code and enunciates its criminality.
  • A hate crime is usually motivated by biases. It only there’s a bias that a criminal act forms into a hate crime. The factor to be observed is that the selection of a victim supported prejudice based upon his religion, community, gender and therefore the like.
  • Hate crimes are an extreme sort of discrimination. it’s committed out of some big difference present within the community against the opposite which makes the previous discriminate the later and in dire condition commit crimes against them due to their biases.
  •  within the case of Hate crimes, the target is usually a private or a gaggle of people with common characteristics that are noticeable and leads to the differences and biases.
  • Hate crimes have a varying degree of occurrences which ranges from vandalism to physical abuse and even sometimes homicide. The gravity of hate crimes is predicated upon the brutality and cruelty to which they amounted and its effect on the society as an entire.


April 2019, there have been 282 Hate Crimes which resulted in 100 deaths. Muslims were during a majority 57% incidents victims to such crimes followed by Christians in 15% cases then Hindus, in 13% cases. All of those data simply show the alarming rate at which such crimes occur and the way it had deep-rooted itself in society.[1]

Psychology behind Hate Crimes

Hatred is divided into seven types, namely – accepted; hot; cold; burning; simmering; furious; and all-embracing. within the current Indian context, however, burning hatred is that the most relevant – which entails hatred towards a gaggle. they’re seen as sub-human or inhuman and threatening, and a something must be done to scale back the ‘threat’ they pose. Those who commit hate crimes are not mentally ill in the traditional sense–they’re not diagnosed as a schizophrenic or manic depressive; however, they have a high level of aggression and antisocial behaviour. People who commit bias crimes also are more likely to deliberate on and plan their attacks than those that commit more spontaneous crimes, but they’re consistently very troubled, very disturbed, very problematic members of our community who pose an enormous risk for future violence, people that commit bias crimes also are more likely to deliberate on and plan their attacks than those that commit more spontaneous crimes[2]

Reasons for Committing Hate Crimes

  1. Thrill-seeking: Hate crimes done for experiencing excitement and drama. Usually, people who are bored or under the influence of any intoxicant tend to commit such crimes, there is no justifiable reason for committing such crimes, mostly racial discrimination or religious difference, etc. lead to such crimes.
  2. Defensive: It takes place usually as an act of defence, like trying to defend one’s religion or country.
  3. Retaliatory: It is done as a response to shaming or provoking. The act is usually done to take revenge.
  4. Mission offenders: They are the most dangerous of the lot. They usually commit crimes as they are in a state of mind where they act against a person or group of people as if they are initiating a war against their rivals. For example, two religious pacts fighting with each other.[3]


As indicated by Law Commission of India (267th report), despise discourse signifies “affectation to scorn principally against a gathering of individuals characterized as far as race, ethnicity, sex, sexual direction”

As indicated by Section 153A, an individual who uses words (composed/expressed) which elevate or endeavour to advance disharmony/ill will/scorn/hostility between various gatherings or ranks or networks on grounds including religion, language or standing is subject to be rebuffed. As indicated by Sections 295A and 298, acts planned to shock or wound the strict sentiments of any individual or class can be condemned. Area 124A of the IPC punishes dissidence. Segment 505(1) and (2) IPC punishes distribution or flow of any announcement, gossip or report causing open insidiousness and hostility, disdain or malevolence between classes.

The Law Commission of India has drafted another law, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017, embeddings new areas to strengthen majority rule government against loathe discourses. Abhor discourse is an actuation to scorn against a particular gathering of people underestimated by their religion, sexual direction, sex, etc. The Commission, in its 267th report on abhor discourse, said such articulations can possibly intrigue people and society.

The Commission has proposed Section 153C, which punishes induction to contempt, where a liable individual with two years’ detainment, or Rs. 5,000 in fine, or both. Area 505A, which for the essential time makes “causing trepidation, alert, or incitement of viciousness in specific cases” a chose criminal offence. Segment 505A gives a discipline of one-year detainment or Rs. 5,000 in fine, or both.

Hostile discourse has genuine and wrecking impacts on individuals’ lives and dangers their wellbeing and security. It is unsafe and disruptive for networks and hampers social advancement. The commission likewise cautioned that whenever left unchecked, despise discourse can seriously influence right to a lifetime of each person.

It said even a discourse that doesn’t prompt brutality has the capability of underestimating an area of society, in this way repudiating well known lawful and legal ideas about the ambit of detest discourse. Impelling to viciousness can’t be the main test for deciding if a discourse adds up to detest discourse or not. Indeed, even discourse that doesn’t prompt brutality has the capability of minimizing a specific area of the general public or person.

It additionally called attention to that in the period of innovation; the obscurity of the Internet permits a lowlife to effectively spread bogus and hostile thoughts. These thoughts needn’t generally affect brutality yet they could sustain the prejudicial perspectives pervasive inside the general public. Subsequently, induction to separation is also a major factor that adds to the ID of abhor discourse.

In conclusion,

Hate crimes can be prevented by taming one’s mind and not reacting to provocation. Guidance should be given to anybody who is of unsound mind and the people who have a higher chance of committing crimes. Peace and harmony can prevent hate crimes to a large extent.

[1] http://lawtimesjournal.in/hate-crimes-their-nature-and-laws-connected-with-them/

[2] https://thewire.in/communalism/understanding-the-psychology-of-hatred

[3] https://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/02/us/who-commits-hate-crimes/index.html

Raajshree Vardhan from School of Law, Ansal University

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