Close to 3000 cases of communal violence registered in country says union minister

Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai in a reply in Rajya Sabha said that close to 3000 cases of communal violence were reported in the country in the last 5 years

Stock Photo (Representative Image)
Stock Photo (Representative Image)

Ashlin Mathew

There have been close to 3,000 communal and religious rioting cases registered in the country in the last five year between 2017 and 2021, stated Nityanand Rai, the Union minister of state for home.

Responding to Rajya Sabha Congress MP from Kerala Jebi Mather, Rai said that there were 378 instances of religious rioting in 2021 in the country. In these five years, the highest number of riots occurred in 2020 with 857 registered cases, followed by 723 cases in 2017, 512 in 2018 and 438 in 2019. He was citing data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

In the response, the government reiterated that there was no separate data was maintained for mob lynching. Rai had said this in Lok Sabha early this year in March in response to a question on mob lynchings by Lok Sabha Congress member from Kerala Hibi Eden. He had raised the issue of the requirement of a special law to deal with offences such as mob lynching.

In the latest response, Rai underscored that an advisory was issued to the states and union territories on July 4, 2018, asking them to keep a watch on the circulation of fake news and rumours having the potential of inciting violence, and to take all required measures to counter them effectively while dealing firmly with persons taking law into their hands. Advisories were also issued on July 23, 2018, and September 25, 2018. Since then no advisories have been issued.

In April 2022, in a response to Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, Rai said ‘Public Order’ and ‘Police’ are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The responsibility of maintaining law and order, registration and prosecution of crimes against all citizens including minorities, rests with the respective state governments.

According to the NCRB data, of these 378 cases in 2021, 100 cases were registered in Jharkhand, 77 in Maharashtra, and 22 in Rajasthan. This was followed by 51 each in Maharashtra and Bihar and 40 in Haryana.

NCRB data as proof

However, a look at the NCRB data of the last five years reveals that in Uttar Pradesh itself there were 35,040 cases of rioting during 2017-2021. At least 5,302 cases of riots were reported in 2021, and it has reduced by 41% from 8,990 in 2017.

Communal riots in the state have seen a downward trend though — a decrease of 97% from 2017 to 2021. In fact, the NCRB report showed that in the years 2018, 2019, and 2020 UP did not see any communal rioting case. The NCRB classifies incidents of rioting into 15 different categories, including communal, sectarian, caste conflict, industrial, and political.

A total of 4.07 lakh cases of riots have been registered between 2014 and 2020. The total number of cases registered each year under ‘riots’ decreased to 46,209 cases in 2019 from over 66,000 cases in 2014. However, the number of riots cases registered increased to 51,606 cases in 2020.

Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala accounted for 63% of the riot cases registered between 2014 and 2020. In the seven-year period, West Bengal witnessed a decline in riot cases by close to six times.

Under ‘sectarian’ riots, 94% of the cases registered in 2015, and 49% in 2016 were in UP. However, no cases were registered under this head in the state in 2019 and 2020.

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