SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) — The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) has unveiled troubling findings from its year-long CA vs Hate program, showing a significant rise in hate incidents, with anti-Hindu bias emerging as the second most reported form of religiously motivated hate. The report indicates that 23% of religious hate incidents targeted Hindus, trailing only anti-Jewish incidents at 37%, and surpassing anti-Muslim incidents at 15%.

Despite the detailed breakdown of hate incidents, the report does not specify the exact number of anti-Hindu incidents or the precise percentage of all religiously motivated hate crimes. The CRD reported that out of 1,020 hate incidents, 580 were verified. These incidents were categorized as 35% motivated by race and ethnicity, 15% by gender identity, and just under 11% by sexual orientation. The exact percentage of religiously motivated hate incidents remains unspecified.

Samir Kalra, Managing Director of Policy and Programs at the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), commented on the findings, stating, “The report confirms what we already knew: Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu incidents are more prevalent than previously reported. At HAF, we have seen an uptick in reports of hate crimes and bias incidents from community members, particularly towards the latter half of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.”

Kalra highlighted several incidents involving the vandalism and desecration of temples, as well as harassment and intimidation of Hindu individuals by extremist groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. HAF is actively responding to this increase in hate incidents by creating new resources, engaging with law enforcement and federal agencies, and empowering the community to report bias incidents and hate crimes.

In response to the alarming rise in hate crimes, HAF recently hosted its first-ever Combating Rising Hinduphobia conference. Over 70 first responders attended, including representatives from local police departments, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and District Attorney’s offices. The conference featured a Hinduism 101 training session and two panel discussions: “The Parallels in Anti-Semitism and Hinduphobia” and “Rising Khalistani Extremism in the Diaspora.”

California launched the CA vs Hate program in 2023 to combat the surge in hate crimes, which reached their highest levels since 2001, with a nearly 33% increase from 2020 to 2021. The program provides a hotline and online portal for safe and anonymous reporting, supporting individuals and communities targeted by hate.

Governor Gavin Newsom said “CA vs Hate is about recognizing and protecting the incredible diversity of our state and sending a clear message that hate will never be tolerated.” CRD Director Kevin Kish added, “We came together and launched an array of nation-leading programs to ensure all our communities feel welcome and protected. This work is only just beginning, but it would not be possible without the advocacy of our community partners and the foresight of our state’s Administration and Legislature.”

The CA vs Hate program aims to address the historical underreporting of hate crimes by offering confidential and free services, regardless of immigration status. The program ensures that victims and witnesses of hate acts can report incidents without engaging with the criminal legal system. Approximately 1,020 acts of hate were reported to the hotline in its first year, with 2,118 contacts from the public seeking assistance.

The program continues to expand its efforts to reach more communities, including launching a billboard campaign, developing digital assets in coordination with tribal and AAPI community partners, and exploring new reporting options such as a text-responsive hotline.

Diya TV received funding from the program towards additional coverage of hate crimes in California in 2023.