New Delhi: The number of communal incidents in India have declined "substantially" since the NDA government has come to power, the government said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Responding to a series of supplementaries on communal incidents in various parts of the country, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said between 2013 and October this year, the number of communal incidents reported have come down "substantially."
As Opposition members questioned his remark, the minister said so far this year four major communal incidents have taken place. "In fact, the incidents have gone down and not come up since our party has come to power," he said during Question Hour.
Amid heated exchanges between the Opposition and treasury benches, he said while there has been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, but compared to 2013, they have come down.
He said he was comparing the number of incidents since 2013 as NDA was not in power for the entire of 2014 but only part of it. He also said he would not like to comment on the communal incidents which took place during the UPA rule.
In the written reply, government has explained that 'major events' are classified as those where over five persons have been killed or 10 injured or which lead to multiplicity of fatalities and extensive destruction of property.
'Important events' are classified where at least one person has been killed or at least 10 persons are injured.
According to the written reply, in 2014, 644 'communal incidents' took place, including 133 in UP, 72 in Rajasthan, 97 in Maharashtra, 56 in Madhya Pradesh, 73 in Karnataka, 10 in Jharkhand, 74 in Gujarat, 7 in Delhi, 61 in Bihar and 16 in West Bengal.
This year, between January and October, 650 incidents have taken place with a maximum of 139 taking place in Uttar Pradesh.
While 97 incidents were reported from Maharashtra, 86 from Madhya Pradesh, 79 from Karnataka, 24 from Jharkhand, 47 from Gujarat, 59 from Bihar and 24 from West Bengal.
Rijiju rejected suggestions by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that there have been more communal clashes in states where BJP has "more presence" such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Bihar.
"It is not a fair comment. What Kharge says does not tally with the figures. It is the responsibility of state government or MPs," the minister asked.