Communal clashes, riots, hate crimes: India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Readers will be able to edit existing articles and post new articles directly
1927-2019: In brief
In the first war of independence, or sepoy mutiny of 1857, Hindus and Muslims fought shoulder to shoulder against colonial forces. In the next 90 years, undivided India witnessed growing hostilities between Hindu and Muslim communities. It got bloodier after the 1920s.
Communal riots in Nagpur and Mumbai in 1927-29 saw mobs lynch innocents. Communal lynching took a grotesque dimension in 1946. Muslim League’s Direct Action Day state-sponsored lynching in Calcutta in August-September, followed by the bloody Noakhali carnage in October-November and a retaliation in Bihar. Over 15,000 people were lynched in these three incidents.
The worst was reserved for 1947 when vivisection of the country resulted in displacement of 15 million. Frenzied communal mobs lynched a million, scars of which never healed. Since independence, both communities seldom spared an opportunity to bait, berate and engage in violence against each other at the slightest provocation, at the behest of intellectuals or preachers.
Uttar Pradesh has historically been the country’s communal cauldron. Intellectuals, who are worried by a spike in communal violence and intolerance today, must read Allahabad High Court’s judgment in Mohd Ishaq Ilmi [AIR 1957 All 782]. It narrates how intolerance had already taken root even when the nation was in its infancy. Similar incidents continue to spark violence and further weaken the social fabric.
Ilmi was the printer, publisher and editor of Urdu daily ‘Siyasat’ in Kanpur when Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, headed by K M Munshi, who was also then governor of UP, re-published a book written by two American authors titled ‘Religious Leaders’ in May 1956. It had “objectionable and provocative” passages on Prophet Muhammad.
Ilmi started a religion-coated campaign against the book and continued with it even after Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan withdrew the book from circulation and Munshi published regret in newspapers. Continuous incitement by Ilmi’s ‘Siyasat’ incensed Aligarh Muslim University students to hold demonstrations and shout slogans like “Hans ke liya Pakistan, Lar ke Lenge Hindustan’ and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. Hindu students took out a protest march against such demonstration by Muslims. The protest march was attacked and a prominent Hindu was stabbed to death Ilmi was taken into preventive custody to stop him from promoting communal hatred. The present ‘Jai Sri Ram’ chant appears to have taken a leaf out of Ilmi’s Siyasat.
Though the HC quashed Ilmi’s preventive detention after putting a premium on his free speech and said he did not incite violence, it made a general statement, “It is a notorious fact of which we are justified in taking judicial notice that in cases where communal feelings have been exploited and communal frenzy has been worked up, violence has invariably resulted sooner or later whether such violence was advocated or not.” These words still hold good for India and for intellectuals, who only look at the result and not the provocations over the years.
Provocative statements leading to violence and counter-violence have become a way of life in India and part of right to free speech. Comments by the American authors about the Prophet led to communal violence in many places in UP in 1956. Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ got banned by the government to placate Muslims without caring for the author’s free speech.
When M F Hussain painted a nude woman, as a mimic of India’s shape, and it was christened ‘Bharat Mata’, it catered to the secular thoughts of elites and evoked inviolability of right to free speech in judicial minds. Hussain fled India fearing reprisal. The SC came to his rescue on September 7, 2008, and termed the painting a “work of art”. It had said, “Paintings are like a sculptures. None gets scandalised by looking at erotic sculptures.” Can anyone explain the difference between the three cases — Ilmi, Rushdie and Hussain? A commoner, whose passion get easily aroused through provocative statements, will never understand.
In Masood Alam [1973 AIR 897], the SC dealt with a case of a Muslim theologist who went to Pakistan in 1971 and returned home three days before the India-Pakistan war to launch a campaign against Aligarh Muslim University Bill and set up ‘Youth Majlis’ for training youth to use knives. Upholding his preventive detention, the SC had said, “It has to be borne in mind that when a person professing to be learned in religious theology encourages defiance of law in the name of religion, then ignorant and credulous people are more likely to be misled and swayed by religious passions and sentiments. Such activities naturally have greater potentiality for prejudicially threatening maintenance of public order.”
The SC has mostly blamed governments for the communal situation remaining in a state of boil. While dealing with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, the SC in Mohd Haroon case [2014 (5) SCC 252] narrated how eve-teasing of girls of one community led to violence and counter-violence.
It had said, “Had central and state intelligence agencies smelt these problems in advance and alerted the district administration, the unfortunate incidents could have been prevented. Thus, we hold the state government responsible for being negligent at initial stages in not anticipating the communal violence and for not taking necessary steps for its prevention.” Did any intellectual blame the then SP government headed by Akhilesh Yadav?
In Tehseen S Poonawala judgment [2018 (6) SCC 72], the SC said, “There can be no shadow of doubt that the authorities which are conferred with the responsibility to maintain law and order in the states have the principal obligation to see that vigilantism, be it cow vigilantism or any other vigilantism of any perception, does not take place. When any core group with some kind of idea take the law into their own hands, it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and, eventually, there is an emergency of a violent society.”
So, when 49 eminent persons, settled in various parts of India, seamlessly coordinate to produce a common letter conveying to the PM their fears over rising intolerance, a commoner would have expected them to make similar coordinated efforts to promote communal harmony. The same applies to the 62 other eminent people who authored a counter-letter. It is for all of us, especially those who make a lot of noise on social media on tolerance, to travel to the nooks and corners of the country and spread harmony to dispel hatred.
All in a riot mob equally guilty: Gujarat HC
The Times of India, April 19, 2016
All in a riot mob equally guilty, Gujarat high court rules
The Gujarat high court has said that in cases involving charges of rioting, all the members of a mob should be held responsible for offences committed by any one of them. The observation came during a hearing on a nearly 13-year-old case of murder, dacoity and rioting in Ahmedabad's Shah-e-Alam area.
In November 2003, a riotous mb had intercepted commuters, committed dacoity, and even killed a pillion rider, Mukesh Panchal. Six of the 12 accused were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court, but they challenged their conviction in the HC.
Upholding the conviction, a bench of Justice KS Jhaveri and Justice G B Shah observed last week, "Riots, resulting in serious injuries or even death, are of frequent occurrence in this state and cases relating to such riots require careful handling." "A large number of persons are involved and evidence is often entirely of partisan character. There is, moreover, great danger of innocent persons being implicated along with the guilty, owing to the tendency of parties to try to implicate falsely as many of their enemies as they can," they added. They observed that the "law is very clear that if an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in furtherance of the common object of that assembly, every member of that unlawful assembly is guilty of that offence".
"Specific overt act of each member needs not be proved when the accused are proved to be members of that assembly," the bench added. With these observations, the HC rejected the defence argument that the accused were mere onlookers, saying their intention "to spread havoc in the city" was clear. But it reduced the sentence from life imprisonment to 10 years' jail.
‘Withdrawal’ of cases
2018, Mar: UP govt initiates withdrawal of 131 riots cases
The BJP government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh has initiated the process on the withdrawal of 131 cases linked to the 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, including 13 of murder and 11 of attempt to murder.
Sharma, DM, Muzaffarnagar, opposes withdrawal: 2018, Aug
The move to withdraw the cases was set in motion in February last year after a BJP delegation met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath.
The Uttar Pradesh government's move to withdraw the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riot cases has hit a roadblock with the local district administration opposing it on administrative grounds.
The government, which had elicited the views of the administration on the riot cases, has been told by Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Rajiv Sharma that it was not right on administrative grounds.
"We have probed all aspects of the cases and have sent a report to the government... We have also given our views on the basis of the police and prosecution reports that withdrawal of cases would not be right from administrative point of view," the DM told reporters in Muzaffarnagar.
Some senior BJP lawmakers, among others, have been named in several cases related to the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
The move to withdraw the cases was set in motion in February last year after a BJP delegation met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath.
BJP MLA Sangeet Som, who is also named in the case, however, said that justice would be done.
"The fake cases framed during the then Samajwadi Party government will be withdrawan," he said.
The Adityanath government had written to the district officials, asking them for a detailed report on the status of cases against BJP leaders accused of making provocative speeches and inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
The lawmakers have been accused of violating prohibitory orders and stopping public servants from doing their duties.
2019, Jan: UP orders DM, Muzaffarnagar to withdraw 18 riot cases
The UP government has decided to withdraw 18 cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots and asked the authorities to approach the court, sources said.
UP’s special secretary of law JJ Singh has directed Muzaffarnagar district magistrate Rajeev Sharma to withdraw the cases, they said.
On the directive from Lucknow, the district authorities have started preparing to approach the court for permission to withdraw the cases. The cases were filed under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code including 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 397 (attempt to cause death), the sources said.
The directive came after the state government sought details of 125 cases filed in relation to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. ADM Amit Kumar told PTI that the government had sought the details to review the possibility of withdrawing the 125 cases pending in courts.
Riot victims: Jan-Sep 15, 2013
Government releases data of riot victims identifying religion
PTI | Sep 24, 2013
A document released by the home ministry said there were 479 riots in the country, including in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, till September 15, 2013, in which 107 people lost their lives.
NEW DELHI: Perhaps for the first time, the home ministry has identified the religion of victims of communal violence, saying 107 people lost their lives in riots between Jan 1-Sep 15 2013, of whom 66 were Muslims and 41 were Hindus.
A document released by the home ministry said there were 479 riots in the country, including in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, till September 15 in which 107 people lost their lives.
UP recorded the highest number of casualties — 62 — among all states, of whom 42 were Muslims and 20 were Hindus. There were 93 riots in UP in the first nine months of 2013 in addition to 108 incidents of tension in the state.
Altogether 1,697 people were injured in communal disturbances in the country this year, of whom 794 were Hindus and 703 were Muslims. Among the injured this year, there were 200 policemen.
A total of 219 Muslims and 134 Hindus were injured in riots in Uttar Pradesh in 2013.
Bihar, which saw 40 communal disturbances and 25 incidents of tension-like situation in 2013, recorded nine death in riots, of whom five were Hindus and four were Muslims. Among the injured in Bihar, 123 were Hindus and 66 were Muslims, while 19 were from the police department.
In Gujarat, there were 54 cases of communal violence and 21 of tension in 2013 in which six people lost their lives of whom three each were Hindus and Muslims. Of the injured in Gujarat, 85 were Hindus, 57 Muslims and five were police personnel. There were 56 communal disturbances and 100 incidents of tension in Maharashtra this year, in which three Hindus and seven Muslims were killed. Of the injured, 101 were Hindus, 106 Muslims and 64 policemen.
2018/ H1: UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar worst
In the first six months of this year, 100 hate crimes have been committed against people from marginalised groups, including Dalits, adivasis, members of racial or religious minority groups and transgender people, from across the country, according to human rights advocacy group Amnesty international.
With 18 such crimes, UP had the highest number among Indian states, followed by Gujarat with 13 cases, Rajasthan (eight) and Tamil Nadu and Bihar with seven cases each. The report comes during the ongoing investigation into a lynching in Hapur, where a local named Mohammad Qasim was assaulted by a mob over suspicion of cow slaughter in June.
The lone survivor, 62-year old Samiuddin, has contested the initial police claim that the lynching was triggered by road rage instead of cow slaughter rumours.
The human rights group began documenting hate crimes in the country after Mohammad Akhlaq was killed in Dadri, UP, for allegedly storing beef at home in September 2015. Since then, 603 hate crimes have been recorded on an interactive website, “Halt the Hate”, run by Amnesty.
Hate crimes in India fell in 2017: Amnesty
The report stated in the first six months of 2018, 67 hate crimes against Dalits and 22 against Muslims were recorded across the country.
Cow-related violence and honour killings were among the most common causes, according to data compiled by Amnesty. In UP, the western part of the state has been the epicentre of such incidents, with violence triggered on caste and religious faultlines. Recently, a 44-year-old man was summoned by a local panchayat in Bulandshahr’s Sonda Habibpur village. He was assaulted and forced to lick his own spit after his son married a woman from another community.
“Hate crimes are different from other crimes because there is an underlying discriminatory motive behind the former. However, the law — with some exceptions — does not recognise hate crimes as separate offences. This means that even today, the extent of hate crime in India is unknown. Police need to unmask any potentially discriminatory motives during investigation and duly record them,” said Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India.
According to the website, UP was the state with the most hate crime incidents in 2016 and 2017, too. India recorded 200 hate crimes in 2017 and 237 in 2016. UP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat recorded the most incidents in the previous two years.
2019/ Muzaffarnagar riots: UP to drop 38 cases
Hours after the Supreme Court rapped the Centre for delaying completion of the National Register of Citizens, saying it would “destroy the process”, Union home minister Rajnath Singh assured that the government is committed to completing the NRC process within the stipulated July 31 deadline.
“The government led by PM Narendra Modi has carried forward the NRC process. After signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, the Centre and Assam government have completed the NRC work that had been pending for more than 30 years and took it to final stage,” Singh said, adding, “Neither any Indian national’s name will be excluded nor a foreigner’s name included in the final NRC.”
Annoyed by the Centre’s plea for a three-week extension due to the Lok Sabha polls, the SC had slammed the home ministry, saying the court was getting the impression that the Centre is trying to “destroy the NRC process”. The court observed that the government seemed hell-bent on stalling the work.
Soon after, the home minister hastened to explain: “The complete NRC draft was published on July 30, 2018, and thereafter claims and objections process has also been completed by December 31, 2018.” MHA has made available necessary funds and resources to the Assam government to ensure that NRC work is completed in a time-bound and impartial manner. He added that central armed forces in required numbers have been deployed in the state over the last one-and-a-half years to maintain law and order in view of the enormity of the NRC exercise.
Earlier in the day, appearing before a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman, attorney general K K Venugopal said that in the highly surcharged atmosphere during the election season, the NRC work should be suspended from the last date of submission of nominations till polling. The Centre sought to withdraw 167 companies of central forces for deployment for poll duty.
Responding to a query from the bench, the government said there are a total of 3,000 companies of central forces available. The bench said the number was sufficient for elections and NRC work to go on together and the Centre was “hell-bent” on not allowing the work to continue. “We are getting an impression that the ministry of home affairs does not want to complete the NRC work and it comes out with different excuses. Entire effort of MHA is to destroy the process. If you want NRC to go on, there are 1,001 ways to do it,” the bench said.
The SC made it clear that the deadline of July 31would not be extended. “We want general election to be held peacefully, but we also want NRC work to go on along with election. Is it too much to ask from the government?” the bench said.
It directed adequate number of state government officials, around 3,457 from different ranks, be kept free for NRC work. There are around 6,000 officials involved and the court said the rest of the work force, which is over 2,000, could be engaged in the election work at the relevant point of time.
2005-13Clashes between religious groups
1,000 communal clashes, 965 dead in last 8 years
Subodh Varma, TNN | Sep 20, 2013
NEW DELHI: In 2005-2013, there have been nearly a thousand communal incidents across the country. While the casualties are countable - 965 dead and over 18,000 injured - the toll on India's economic and social fabric is beyond any metric.
More than half of these incidents took place in five states -- Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala. While Uttar Pradesh is generally considered to be the most susceptible to communal tensions, if incidents of communal violence and casualties are measured in the context of the population of states, a different picture emerges.
The worst five states in India in terms of communal incidents per million population are Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala, in that order, over a period spanning from 2005 to the first quarter of 2013. Madhya Pradesh, with 965 incidents between 2005 and 2013 (March), has the worst record of nearly 14 incidents for every million population. The countrywide average is about 5 incidents per million population. This is because in most parts of the country communal strife is negligible.
Uttar Pradesh, by this reckoning, has a count of about 5 incidents per million population, similar to the national average, while its neighbour Bihar, once considered a hotspot of communal violence, has just 2.8 incidents per million. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Haryana and Punjab are the five best states with communal incidents at less than 2 per million population.
Data for communal incidents was culled from answers given by the home minister to several Parliament questions.
Casualty figures for communal incidents, including both the number of persons killed and injured, are almost in direct correspondence to the number of incidents, barring a major exception, Uttar Pradesh. This state joins the ranks of the worst five states in terms of casualties in communal violence with Kerala dropping much further down. Madhya Pradesh again leads with 36 casualties per million population. The all-India average is just over 16.
The five best states in terms of lowest casualties in communal violence are Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab. The first two have about 7 casualties per million, while the other three have less than 2 per million population.
Casualties reflect the extent and nature of violence in an incident. Muzaffarnagar is one of the worst incidents in recent years. The Gujarat killings in 2002 were by far the most extensive and brutal in the new millennium, with estimates of those killed varying between 1,000 and 2,000.
See graphic, ' Communal situation in India, 2010-15'
No sharp rise in clashes since NDA-2 took over
Bharti.Jain@timesgroup.com The Times of India Aug 07 2014
The charge in Lok Sabha that incidents of communal violence had increased since the NDA took over is not quite backed by data maintained by the home ministry. A comparison of monthly average of communal incidents reported from across the country in the last couple of years and during May-June 2014, after the Modi government assumed office, shows that incidents per month fell to 56.5 during MayJune 2014 from 68.6 in 2013. The 2012 average, though, was better at 55.7 incidents per month.
Similarly, the average number of deaths and injured on account of communal incidents was lower at 7.5 and 159 per month respectively over May-June this year, compared to 11 deaths and 189 injured per month in 2013 and 7.8 deaths and 176.4 injured in 2012.
In absolute terms, 133 persons were killed and 2,269 injured in a total of 823 incidents of communal violence in 2013, while the figures in 2012 were 94 deaths, 2,117 injuries and 668 in 2012. However, as per tentative figures for May-June 2014, 15 persons were killed and 318 injured in 113 incidents across the country.
However, experts warned that the comparison based on monthly average for just two months of May and June 2014 and that for entire 2013 and 2012 may not be perfect, as incidents could see a rise or fall in the coming months. It was felt that a comparison between communal violence figures for the latter half of 2014 and the corresponding period of 2013 would offer a better picture.
A state-wise break-up of the data compiled so far puts Uttar Pradesh at the top of the table in terms of monthly average, with 3.25 deaths, 41.7 injured and 9.8 incidents per month in 2012 and 6.4 deaths, 30 injured and 20.6 incidents per month in 2013. In MayJune 2014, the average worked out to 3 deaths, 39 injured and 13.5 incidents per month.
Riot rate dipped in 2014, Rijiju tells Parliament
Bharti Jain The Times of India The Times of India Nov 27 2014
Incidents of communal violence have declined to 561 between January and October this year from 694 and 668 in the corresponding period of 2013 and 2012. The number of those killed in communal riots dipped from 143 (tentative figure cited in reply to a Lok Sabha question dated December 10, 2013) until October last year to 90 over the same period this year. The corresponding figure for 2012 was 94 deaths.
Similarly , the number of those injured until October this year stood at 1,688 as compared to 1,978 (as per data placed in Parliament on December 10 last year) and 2,117 during the corresponding period of 2013 and 2012 respectively .
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, while replying to a Rajya Sabha question on Wednesday seeking details of communal incidents in the current year, attributed the 561 incidents, 90 deaths and 1,688 injuries until October 31 this year to “religious factors, genderrelated issues, land and property disputes and other miscellaneous issues“.
The higher casualty on account of communal riots during 2013 may be attributed to the violent clashes that broke out in Muzaffarnagar in August-September.
See graphic, ' Communal clashes in India in 2014 '
2014, 15: 52% of clashes in non-BJP ruled states
The Times of India, Dec 02 2015
`52% of communal clashes in non-BJP ruled states'
Non-BJP ruled states accounted for 52% of the incidents of communal violence recorded in the country this year until October, according to home ministry data presented in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday . Among nine states where BJP is in power, there was a discernible decline in the number of communal clashes in Rajasthan and Gujarat in the first 10 months of the year as compared to 2014, even as MP and Jharkhand recorded an increase.
Significantly, UP recorded the highest communal violence at 139 incidents till October 2015, surpassing the 133 incidents seen the whole of last year. Maharashtra followed UP with 97 communal incidents till October (same as 97 incidents in 2014), while ranking next were MP at 86 incidents (56 in 2014), Karnataka with 79 incidents (73 in 2014), Bihar with 59 incidents (61 in 2014), Rajasthan with 54 incidents (72 last year) and Gujarat with 47 incidents till October as compared to 74 in 2014.
A rise was seen in incidents of communal violence in Trinamool Congressruled Bengal, with data cited in reply to an LS query putting the number at 24 in the first 10 months of this year, up from 16 through 2014.
Congress-ruled Karnataka, too, witnessed more incidents at 79 till October as compared to 73 in 2014. Telangana, where TRS is in power, witnessed 10 incidents in the first 10 months of this year as compared to 5 in all of last year.
The ongoing `intolerance debate' may have dominated political discourse in Bihar during the recent state polls, but the JD(U)-ruled state witnessed no more than 59 incidents till October 2012, as against 61 incidents in 2014.
Interestingly , though Haryana accounted for one of the country's two `important' communal events (where at least one person is killed or 10 injured) this year -a feud in May over construction of a place of worship at Atali village in Faridabad -it saw a total of six incidents till October. The lynching of Mohd Akhlaq in Bisada was the other important incident.
Junior home minister Kiren Rijiju said communal incidents had declined substantially between 2013 and October this year. As the opposition benches protested his claim, Rijiju said while there had been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, when compared to 2013, incidents had come down.
Jan –May 2015: Communal clashes
The Times of India, Jul 22 2015
Communal clashes up 24% in Jan-May 2015
Up To 287 From 232 In Same Period Last Yr Communal violence in India has registered a jump with incidents rising by 24% and related deaths too up by 65% in the first five months of 2015 as compared to the corresponding period of last year, when the UPA government was in the saddle. As per latest data collated by the Union home ministry , 287 communal incidents were reported from across the country this year until May 31, as compared to 232 over the same period in 2014.
Deaths due to communal clashes during January-May 2015 rose to 43 from 26 and the number of injured too were higher at 961 from 701 in the first five months of last year.
The states that reportedly accounted for a major portion of the increase in communal clashes were Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maha rashtra and West Bengal.
This is for the first time that data has reflected negatively on the state of communal harmony under the Modi government.
Earlier, a comparison of the annual data for the year 2014 and 2013 had shown a fall in incidents to 644 from 823 respectively .
Deaths in 2014 too dipped to 95 from 133 and injured were fewer at 1961 as compared to 2,269 in 2013.
Many argued that the lower communal violence in 2014 as compared to 2013 was not really a verdict on the effectiveness of Modi government to control riots, considering that UPA was in power until mid-May 2014.
2015: Fewer people killed
The Times of India, Nov 24 2015
Communal clashes killed fewer people this year than in 2014
86 killed until Oct 2015, MHA tells Parl Panel
Notwithstanding the `intolerance' debate, fewer people have died in communal incidents this year as compared to 2014. While 86 people were killed until October this year, communal violence claimed 90 lives in the corresponding period of 2014. However, the total number of communal incidents till October witnessed a rise this year with 630 incidents being recorded as compared to 561 incidents in 2014. In 2013, when the UPA was in power, the corresponding figure was 694 incidents, though that was largely on account of the Muzaffarnagar riots that claimed 65 lives.
As many as 1,899 people were injured due to communal violence till October 2015, up from 1,688 last year. There were 644 incidents in all of 2014, resulting in 95 deaths and injuries to 1,921 people.
The Union home ministry maintains that unlike 2013, when two major incidents at Dhule (Maharashtra) and Muzaffarnagar resulted in a total 70 deaths and injured over 100, there was just one major incident in 2014 (in July , when NDA was in power) at Qutubsher in Saharanpur, UP, that left 3 persons dead and injured 23. In 2015, however, there has been no major communal incident so far, it adds.
In home ministry's parlance, a “major“ communal incident is one that results in either more than 5 deaths or leaves over 10 persons injured. An `importantsignificant' incident is one that ends in at least one death or leaves 10 injured.
The home ministry , in a written note shared with members of the parliamentary standing com mittee on home affairs last week, said there was just two “significant“ incidents until October this year.
While the first involved a feud over construction of a place of worship in Atali, Faridabad, Haryana, the second was the lynching of a Muslim youth in Bisahda village of Gautam Budh Nagar, UP, over allegations of “slaughter of a banned animal“.
Incidentally , there were 56 incidents in October, while the Bihar elections were underway and the “intolerance“ debate came to dominate political discourse.These incidents resulted in 11 killings and left 126 injured. This is close to the monthly average of 54 communal incidents reported in 2014 but far less than the 68 incidents recorded in 2013, when the UPA was in power. It be recalled that the Muzaffarnagar riots were primarily responsible for the higher communal violence and casualties witnessed in 2013. Though two months of 2015 still remain, if the current levels of communal violence were to sustain, there is unlikely to be any significant increase in the parameters of communal violence such as incidents and casualties, whether fatal or non-fatal, as compared to last year.
The home ministry had in its note circulated to members of the parliamentary standing committee listed misuse of social media as one of the main causes for communal conflicts, the other being religious issues, gender-related issues, land and property disputes and political rivalry , etc.
According to the ministry , there were increasing instances of misuse of social media and mobile applications for circulation of objectionable, blasphemous and derogatory contents that hurt religious sentiments of communities. “Besides creating bitterness and communal harmony on several occasions, such content in cyber-space led to violent protests and also resulted in fatalities and loss of property ,“ it stated.
2015> 16> 17: A rise in number of communal clashes
Communal incidents across India rose to 822 last year from 703 in 2016 and 751 in 2015, reversing the decline seen in 2016. There were 111 deaths while 2,384 were injured due to communal violence in 2017, up from 86 killed and 2,321injured in 2016. The number of deaths in 2017 was the highest in the past three years, as was the number of injured, according to data shared on Tuesday along with a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
Junior home minister Hansraj Ahir said UP saw the most communal riots (195), in which 44 died (40% of countrywide deaths) and 542 were injured. Karnataka recorded 100 incidents, nine killings and 229 injured.
2016: Communal incidents, state-wise
Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh saw more incidents of communal violence in 2016 than in previous years, accounting for nearly a quarter of the cases registered across India, data shared by the government in Parliament shows. However, the country overall registered a fall in the number of communal violence cases last year as compared to 2015.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha that 162 cases of communal violence were reported in UP in 2016, against 155 in 2015. As many as 29 people were killed and 488 injured in 2016, while 22 were killed and 419 hurt in 2015.
On the other hand, across the country , 703 cases of communal violence were registered last year with a toll of 86, against 751in 2015 involving the deaths of 97 people. According to the home ministry's data, while 2,321 people were injured across India in 2016, the figure for 2015 stood at 2,264.
Congress-ruled Karnataka reported 101 cases of communal violence, while BJP-led Maharashtra witnessed 68. A total of 12 people were killed and 248 injured in Karnataka, and six killed and 234 injured in Maharashtra.
Madhya Pradesh, again a BJP-led state, reported 57 cases in 2016 against 92 in 2015. A total of 191 and 177 people were injured in 2016 and 2015, respectively . West Bengal, which is governed by Trinamool Congress, saw an increase in the number of cases from 27 in 2015 to 32 in 2016. As many as four people died and 252 were injured in communal violence last year, against five deaths and 84 injured in 2015.
Seven such cases were reported in Manipur in 2016, in which five people were killed and 73 injured.
There was a silver lining, with no incidents of communal violence reported from Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Puducherry , Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Chandigarh.
“The responsibility of maintain ing law and order... rests primarily with the respective state governments,“ Rijiju said. The central government has issued communal harmony guidelines to all states and union territories that lay down the standard operating procedures to tackle situations arising from communal violence, he said.
2017: Communal clashes up
As many as 111 people were killed in 822 incidents of communal violence in the country in 2017, junior home minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Rajya Sabha.
He said that 86 people were killed in 703 incidents of communal violence in 2016 and 97 people lost their lives in 751 such incidents in 2015. He added that law and order was a state subject. PTI
Communal clashes, riots, hate crimes: India