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India is the land of many religions. However, by any measure, religious freedom has been under grave and constant attack in the country. Minority communities, especially Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, have experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment and violence, largely by Hindu nationalist groups. Numerous bloggers, writers, filmmakers, artists and people from the Dalit community have been criticised and harassed by various religious right-wing groups. The national and a few state governments have enacted several laws to restrict religious conversion and prohibit cow slaughter. However, religiously hurtful speech and expression has become a central point of tension among religious groups and free thinkers.
This paper highlights the trends in religion-based hate speech in relation with the right to free speech in the online space in India. The analysis of trends is based on media reports.