September 18, 2013

10 Nastiest Communal Riots That Ever Happened in Secular India

In India, religious violence is often accompanied with an act of aggression by supporters of one religious group against followers and organizations of another religious class, mostly in the form of mutiny. With the recent communal riot that broke out in Muzaffarnagar, UP, it has once again raised an alarm among Indians on the rise of communal clashes in the country and the nature of its sensitivity among the religious groups.

Let us take a look at some of the grievous communal riots that India witnessed over the last century as listed by Walkthrough India.

1. Muzaffarnagar riots 2013: 

Muzaffarnagar riots that began on 27 August 2013 is believed to be sectarian clashes between the two religious communities (Hindu-Muslim) in Shamli and Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh. So far, it had claimed over 40 lives and injured 93. The outrage in this region started off after an alleged eve-teasing incident that led to murder of a Muslim youth by two youths of the Hindu Jat community. Consequently, these two youths were killed by a mob while trying to escape. This small town personal clash has spread like wild fire leading to chaos and loss of lives within the state.

2. Assam Riots 2012:

The 2012 Assam Riots was an ethnic conflict between the indigenous Bodo community and the Bengali Muslims in Kokrajhar, Assam on 20th July 2012. It started when anonymous miscreants murdered four Bodo youths at Joypur followed by attacks on local Muslims killing two and injuring several of them on the morning of 21 July 2012 in retaliation. Over 80 people lost their lives and more than lakhs of people took shelter in relief camps during the communal riots.

3. Deganga Riots 2010:

In Deganga, a constituency in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, communal clashes occurred on 6thSeptember 2010 when Muslim mobs resorted to violence against the native Hindu community. The violence which started on a land dispute at Chattal Pally village lasted for several successive days. The situation came to a standstill after hundreds of business firms and houses were looted, destroyed and burnt, dozens of people injured and several places of worship sullied and damaged.

4. Aligarh Riots 2006:

Aligarh, a town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with majority being Hindus, is well known as one of the communal prone sites in this state. The 2006 riots started on the night of 5th April when according to some natives, members of the Muslim community removed the decorations on a Hindu temple which was decorated for the festival of Ram Navami. While another account as reported by some media put forward that riots started after some Muslims objected to the overnight celebration of Ram Navami. More than six people died in this communal clash.

5. Gujarat Riots 2002:

The 2002 Gujarat riots went on for about three days among the Hindu and Muslim communities of Gujarat. The outbreaks of violence in Ahmedabad lasted for approximately three weeks, followed by further mass killings against the minority Muslim population for three months all over the states. During the riot, the Sabarmati Express train was burnt(Godhra violence) as a preplanned plot by Muslim crowd and then Muslims were attacked after this incident. The riots resulted in the death of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus; 2,500 people were injured and over 200 people more were reported missing. There were cases of rape, children being burned alive, and looting and destruction of property. The Gujarat riots were thus an act of cruelty and one of the worst riots to ever happen in India.

6. Bombay Riots 1992:

Bombay Riots is considered as the nastiest riot India ever witnessed. The riots which took place between the time periods December 1992 -January 1993, was between Hindu and Muslim, in which over 1,000 people lost their lives. According to Justice B.N. Srikrishna report, the reasons behind this communal riot were the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque; the provocation of Muslim sentiments by the Hindus with their celebration rallies and the insensitive and harsh approach of the police while handling the protesting mobs.

7Bhagalpur Riots 1989:

The Bhagalpur riots of 1989 refer to the outbreak between the Hindus and the Muslims in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar. It started on 24 October 1989, and the violent incidents continued for another 2 months. This massacre affected the Bhagalpur city and also 250 villages around it. Out of over 1,000 people killed during the violence, around 900 were Muslims and another 50,000 were displaced as a result of the violence.  It is known as the worst communal riot in the independent India.

8. Kashmir Riots 1986:

The 1986 Kashmir Riots was a communal conflict that took place in the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir against the Kashmiri Hindus. The riot broke out in a place called Anantnag in Southern Kashmir. This religious clash claimed the lives of numerous of Hindus and forced thousands to move from their native land. The tragedy was the outcome of a well-planned strategy to execute Hindus from the valley they inhabited. By 1990, the Hindu population in Kashmir had to witness their age old temples being demolished and their lives were also at risk.

9. Anti-Sikh Riots 1984:

The 1984 anti-Sikhs riots or the 1984 Sikh Massacre were a series of brutal massacres directed against minority group,  Sikhs, by anti-Sikh masses. The massacre was hit on 1st November 1984 following the assassination of the then Prime minister, Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Due to the widespread outbreak of this riot, the actual number of those dead remains unknown. But, according to official figures, over 8,000 people died and around 60,000 were left homeless in the capital alone. The most affected regions were the Sikh neighborhoods in Delhi.

10. Calcutta Riots 1946 or Great Calcutta Killing:

Calcutta Riots also known as Great Calcutta Killing refers to widespread riot and manslaughter initiated by the Muslim league in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the Bengal province of British India. It is the worst period in the Indian history as the country witnessed four continuous days of massive Hindu-Muslim riots in Calcutta between August 16 and 19, 1946. In this uprising, around 5,000 to 10,000 lost their lives and some 15,000 were left wounded.

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