Communal clashes: India

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Communal situation in India, 2010-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 9, 2015
Communal clashes in India in 2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, October 3, 2015

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The law

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

Saeed Khan

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.

Clashes between religious groups: 2005-13

1,000 communal clashes, 965 dead in last 8 years

Subodh Varma, TNN | Sep 20, 2013

The Times of India

Communal Incidents in India

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.

Riot victims: religion-wise data for 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.

2012-June 2014

No sharp rise in clashes since NDA-2 took over

Communal violence 2012- June 14 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.

2012–October 2014

Riot rate dipped in 2014, Rijiju tells Parliament

Bharti Jain The Times of India The Times of India Nov 27 2014

Communal violence 2012-October 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.

2014, 15: 52% of clashes in non-BJP ruled states

The Times of India, Dec 02 2015

Communal incidents, state-wise, 2014-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Dec 02 2015

`52% of communal clashes in non-BJP ruled states'

Bharti Jain  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

Deaths by incidents and injuries, 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jul 22 2015

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 violence in India and number of persons killed and injured, 2010-2015; Graphic courtesy:

Bharti Jain

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.

Communal incidents, state-wise/2016

Fall in communal clashes in India, but UP more restive than before , Feb 8, 2017: The Times of India

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.

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