On 28th July, 2017, Hindustan Times had introduced a “Hate Tracker” which it claimed was “a national database on crimes in the name of religion, caste, race”. They even had an option where you could “submit” a hate “incident” which would be added to their database only if it meets their “editorial criteria”.
Ever since, the Hate Tracker has come for severe criticism for its obvious bias. Rather than being a common database of crimes against all communities, castes and people, it had warped into a repository where majority of the victims were Muslims and Dalits. Hate crimes against people belonging to certain political or religious inclination were conveniently ignored, and so were crimes perpetrated by people belonging to certain political or religious ideology.
Scientist and columnist Anand Ranganathan was one of the first one to spot and point out this obvious bias. We had covered how he had debunked the Hate Tracker, one tweet after another.
Today, Ranganathan discovered to his suprise, that the link to the Hate Tracker no longer went to the original page:
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 25, 2017
This is what it looked like, on 24/10/2017:
The bias of the tool is evident from just a glance at the most recent “hate” crimes tracked by it (as on 24/10/2017):
Today, when Ranganathan visited the site, he was welcomed with this screen:
Is it really the end of this contrived, one-sided tool of bigotry? Some would assume so because even the editor, Bobby Ghosh, who oversaw the introduction of this Hate Tracker, quit the publication just 14 months into his job. During his time, as many as four editions and three bureaus, including the business bureau in Delhi and Mumbai were shut down, laying off an unknown number of journalists.
Is it the beginning of a course-correction by Hindustan Times or is the Hate Tracker down for “technical reasons”? A questionnaire was sent to the Editor at the Hindustan Times, reply to which is awaited and will be appended to this post.