Hate speech and incitement have been instrumental in atrocity crimes that have occurred in India, even prior to its independence. These atrocities include targeted killings of minorities based on religious and ethnic identity, and demonstrate persistent features of systematic, orchestrated violence that is fuelled by a Hindu nationalist ideology. This ideology is routinely promulgated at the highest levels of political leadership. This article traces both the historical and institutional character of hate speech and incitement in India to understand its repeated manifestation over time. Through case studies of recent violence, it considers the implications of new legal developments, technology and the covid-19 pandemic on the character and dynamic of hate speech, incitement and atrocity violence in India. It considers key reforms and areas for accountability on which the international community could engage the government and civil society in India on the issue of hate speech and incitement to promote atrocity prevention at the domestic level.