Communal violence rose by 28% from 2014 to 2017, but 2008 remains year of highest instances of religious violence

By Chaitanya Mallapur

Mumbai: Communal violence under the National Democratic Alliance government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party increased 28 percent over three years to 2017 – 822 “incidents” were recorded that year – but it was short of the decadal high of 943 in 2008, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of home ministry data.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Uttar Pradesh (UP) – the most populous state in the country – reported most incidents (1,488) over the last decade.

Kasganj in western UP witnessed communal violence on 26 January, 2018, in which a 22-year old youth – Chandan Gupta – was killed after being hit by a bullet.

As many as 44 people were arrested in connection with the violence, which erupted over an unauthorised march on Republic Day, The Indian Express reported on 27 January, 2018.

Communal incidents in UP have increased 47 percent from 133 in 2014 to 195 in 2017. The year 2013 saw the most incidents in UP – 247 – also the most by any state over the last decade.

India was ranked fourth in the world in 2015 – after Syria, Nigeria and Iraq – for the highest social hostilities involving religion, the Huffington Post reported on 14 April, 2017.

As many as 7,484 communal incidents have been reported over the last decade – between 2008 and 2017 – or two every day, killing over 1,100 people, according to data released to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament).

The most incidents – 943 – were reported, as we said, in 2008 during the United Progressive Alliance government led by the Congress, killing 167 people. The least incidents (580) were reported in 2011.

UP, which reported the most incidents, was followed by Maharashtra (940), Karnataka (880), Madhya Pradesh (862) and Gujarat (605).

Source: Lok Sabha replies on February 8, 2018, August 8, 2017, December 2, 2014, May 7, 2013, and August 10, 2010

The five states accounted for 64 percent of communal incidents over the decade.


Election-bound Karnataka witnessed a 37 percent increase in communal incidents from 73 in 2014 to 100 in 2017.

UP also reported the most deaths – 321, or 28 percent of 1,115 deaths – due to communal incidents, followed by Madhya Pradesh (135), Maharashtra (140), Rajasthan (84), and Karnataka (70).

Source: Lok Sabha replies on February 8, 2018, August 8, 2017, December 2, 2014, May 7, 2013, and August 10, 2010

Western UP is considered the communal hotbed, divided on religious lines, and is home to Muzaffarnagar that witnessed communal riots in August and September 2013. These riots claimed 60 lives and more than 40,000 people were displaced.

Between 2010 and 2015, communal violence in Muzaffarnagar rose five-fold, according to data sourced from the office of the director general of police for Uttar Pradesh, reflecting a trend of tension evident across 90 percent of the state, IndiaSpend reported on 28 February, 2017.

(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)


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Updated Date: Feb 09, 2018 10:37:51 IST

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