BJP leaders were found to be the most responsible for hate speech committed in India between 2014-2018.

The north-eastern Indian state of Bihar leads the way for hate speech in India, according to a new study published by Telegraph India.

Law students from three different universities in Patna, Dehradun and New Delhi used media reports between 2014-2018 to examine the use of hate speech in the country. They said that “acknowledging the influence of vitriolic remarks on the political behaviour of the masses”, they wanted to study the phenomenon in a scientific manner.

In the study, Bihar was followed by its western neighbour Uttar Pradesh and the southern state of Telangana.

In the specified period, the worst offender was the National Democratic Alliance, led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

One example given by the study was the Bihar Assembly election in 2015, when the students found that the BJP frequently divided people along the lines of caste and religion.

The study was conducted with the support of a human rights body in Bihar, the People’s Union of Civil Liberties. Its general secretary, Praveen Kumar Madhu, said: “Incidents of lynching and communal violence are plaguing the country because our political leaders resort to inciting casteist, religious and ethnic passions in people.”

International Christian Concern reported last week that in a recent incident, two Christians from Mumbai filed a complaint with police against local BJP MP Gopal Shetty “for promoting enmity between communities” after the politician was filmed saying: “Christians were ‘angrez’ [British], hence they didn’t join in the Indian freedom struggle.”

Mumbai Congress President, Sanjay Nirupam, condemned the MP’s “anti-minority remarks” and demanded that Shetty offer “an apology to the entire Christian community of India, as he has no knowledge of history or the contribution of the Christians in the independence movement”.