NEW DELHI: Having witnessed gruesome riots in Muzaffarnagar in August-September that claimed 62 lives, Uttar Pradesh, not surprisingly, has topped the list of states with most incidents of communal violence and deaths this year.
Government data on communal violence presented in the Parliament for 2012 and 2013 (upto October) shows that along with Bihar, UP has also witnessed exponential rise in such incidents with both states already doubling their figures of riots and deaths this year compared to 2012. Interestingly, Gujarat, in which BJP has repeatedly claimed has remained peaceful ever since Narendra Modi came to power, is among the top five states and above Bihar in terms of communal incidents.
According to the data, provided by the Minister of State for Home RPN Singh to Rajya Sabha, UP recorded 250 incidents of communal violence in 2013 (up to October) leading to deaths of 95 people and injuries to 313. In 2012, UP had witnessed 118 incidents leading to 39 deaths and 500 injuries. The total number of incidents this year stood at 725 leading to 143 deaths in the country. Similarly, Bihar, which has witnessed a spike in communal violence ever since JDU broke an alliance with the BJP in the state, has seen 48 communal riots with seven deaths this year as compared to 21 incidents and three deaths in 2012. Gujarat on its part has carried the communal intensity of 2012 to 2013 with more or less comparable number of incidents and deaths. In 2013, 61 incidents of communal violence led to seven deaths as compared to 57 incidents and five deaths in 2012.
Gujarat, however, is on fourth position in terms of communal incidents with Madhya Pradesh taking the distant second spot with 70 incidents and eight deaths. The state in fact has shown a decline in communal incidents compared to 2012 when it witnessed 92 incidents and nine deaths. Maharashtra, on third position with 64 incidents leading to 11 deaths this year, has also shown an easing up of communal tension compared to 2012 when it saw deaths of 15 people in 94 incidents. Andhra Pradesh has seen the sharpest decline in communal incidents with just 14 incidents this year as compared to 60 in 2012.
The northeastern states of Sikkim, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland reported no communal incidents this year. The data puts Assam in ‘zero’ category even for 2012 despite raging riots between Bodos and Muslims in the state. Sources said this was due to home ministry not classifying the clashes as communal.