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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Road to developed Bharat: Chronology of Communal riots since Independence and the signs of strengthened Law and order after 2014 

Discussing the communal riots such as the anti-Sikh riots, Nellie Massacre, Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, Ramjanmbhoomi riots, and the approach of different governments towards establishing communal harmony and internal security and further highlights the approach Modi government adopted to strengthen the law & order situation in the past ten years.

Since Independence, our nation Bharat has relentlessly been under the affliction of communal riots and massacres, and even the journey of our Independence itself started with the most gruesome incident of our history, that is, Partition and the genocide associated with the same. The seeds of dividing Bharat were already sown with an unethical demand of the two nations, followed by massacres and riots such as Direct Action Day, the 1946 Naokhali Riots, the 1946 Bihar massacre, the 1947 Rawalpindi Massacre, and several others.

Before 2014, a belief gripped every corner of the country that if the BJP comes to power, it would only lead to the creation of an atmosphere of communalism and unrest. Let’s briefly look at the chronology of communal riots and massacres in the past 75 years, fact-checking the allegation mentioned above and what significant change we witnessed after 2014. 

More from the, 8 part “Road to Developed Bharat,” Series:

Also Read: Road to Developed Bharat: Nation’s journey from history of barbaric terrorist incidents to placing National security as a priority

Biggest Communal Riots and events that unmasked the Government:

1966 Anti Cow slaughter agitation was launched by the Hindu Sadhus demanding a complete ban on Cow slaughter. In support of Sadhus, around 100 MPs signed a petition demanding a countrywide ban on Cow slaughter. But, at that time, PM Indira Gandhi followed her father Nehru’s policy of suppressing the demand for the Anti-Cow Slaughter Act. Instead of hearing the demands of Sadhus, she ordered open fire at the unarmed Hindu Sadhus. As per the official report, around 375 Hindus were killed, whereas unofficial records exceed the death toll of 5,000. 

1983 Nellie Massacre: Communal riots triggered between Hindus of Assam and Bengali Muslims in which the death toll reached 2,000, whereas unofficial sources suggests data exceeding 10,000 fatalities. The riots were triggered because Hindus objected to the arbitrariness of illegal immigrants and even rebuked or protested against the Indira Government for promoting and sheltering the illegal immigrants and giving them a share of the Hindu population just to strengthen the vote bank by appeasement and polarization. Former and Late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee also criticized the Indira government for their stand. 

1984 Sikh Massacre: In reply to Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Anti Sikh riots triggered in Bharat in which 3350 Sikhs were killed as per official data, whereas Unofficial accounts range from 8,000 to 17,000. It is further alleged that the riots were a state-sponsored massacre of Innocent Sikh inhabitants in which Congressmen obtained the names and addresses of Sikh families from the voter list and were massacred. Several Congress leaders were involved in this gruesome massacre one of them was three-time Congress MP Sajjan Singh, who was found guilty by the Delhi High Court, whereas names of Congress biggies such as Kamal Nath and Jagdish Tytler also surfaced and grabbed the attention. Even then, Late and former PM Rajiv Gandhi said, “Jab Bhi Koi bada ped girta hai, to dharti thodi hilti hai.” 

Exodus of 150,000 Kashmiri Hindus: The slogan of Ralib, Galib, Chalib (convert, die or leave) started echoing from the Mosques aimed at placing conditions before Kashmiri Hindus to embrace Islam, die or leave Kashmir. With the help of politicians and other influential personalities, the local and Pakistan-sponsored terrorists started the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and other non-Islamic faiths. From loudspeakers of Mosques, the terrorists said that the Hindus should leave their daughters and women behind before leaving Kashmir. Mass murders, rapes, looting, arson, and forcible conversions of non-Islamic faith were commonly practised at those times in Kashmir, and the saddening part was that the government was sleeping. The Kashmiri Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir due to insecurity, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and no action by the government. The figures state an exodus of more than 90% of Hindus from the valley, and 219 Kashmir Hindus were killed as per the government of J&K and just forgot about the unofficial data.     

During Ramjanmbhoomi conflict, the bloodiest chapter in the history of communal riots was witnessed in Bharat that engufled and set the nation ablaze. This condition even unmasked the substandard law and order situation in the country. 

  • 1992 Sitamarhi riots: 65 fatalities 
  • 1992 Surat riots: 200 plus fatalities 
  • 1992 Bombay riots: 250 plus casualties  
  • 1992 Kanpur riots: 254 fatalities 
  • 1992 Assam riots: 90 killed
  • 1992 Rajasthan: 60 causalities 
  • 1992 Bhopal: Around 175 people found dead
  • 1992 Delhi: 53 killed
  • 1993 Bombay Riots: Communal riots were triggered in Mumbai in which 900 people were killed as per official data, and unofficial figures state 4500 plus casualties.  

Chronology of other Communal riots and massacres in Independent Bharat: 

  • 1957 Ramnad Riots: Around 42 people were killed, and more than 2,000 families were made homeless.  
  • 1964 Calcutta Riots: A Hindu-Muslim conflict in which 264 people were killed and more than 400 found injured.  
  • 1967 Ranchi-Hatia Riots: Communal riots triggered near the Jharkhand State capital, in which 184 were killed and more than 150 were injured.  
  • 1969 Gujarat Riots: Around 660 people were killed in these communal clashes, and a thousand people were found severely injured. 
  • 1969 Anti-Kannada riots: It was a border dispute between the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka in which around 60 people lost their lives, whereas more than 200 were found injured.
  • 1980 Moradabad riots: In the Moradabad riots, more than 400 people were killed, whereas unofficial data counts 2500 plus fatalities. 
  • In 1981, Hindu-Muslim riots in Bihar Sharif triggered in which around 45 people were killed, and many were among the injured. 
  • 1984 Bhiwandi riots: Communal riots broke in Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi, Bombay and Thane, in which around 278 people were brutally murdered and more than 1100 were taken to the hospitals. 
  • 1985 Gujarat riots (Ahmadabad): In this Hindu-Muslim clash, around 275 were found dead, and 12,000 lost their basic necessity, which is shelter.  
  • 1986 Kashmir Massacre (Hindu Massacre): The communal violence triggered after Jihadi Muslims aided by political parties and terrorists destroyed a Hindu temple and replaced it with a Mosque that led to riots in which around 2,000 Hindus were butchered. 
  • 1987 Meerut Communal Riots & Hashimpura Massacre in which over 346 Killed. The reason behind triggering these riots was the reopening of the Babri Masjid for Hindu worship. 
  • 1989 Bhagalpur religious violence led to the killing of a thousand people
  • In the 1989 Hazaribagh riots, around 70 people were killed.
  • 1990 Colonelganj riots: Communal riots were triggered due to the pelting of stones and petrol bombs at the Durga Puja procession, in which around 100 people were found dead. 
  • 1990 Hyderabad Riots: In these communal riots, around 200-300 casualties were recorded, and more than a thousand were found injured.  
  • 1990 Rajasthan and Karnataka communal riots: A Hindu-Muslim conflict in which a total of around 100 people were killed.
  • 1990 Khurja riots: Communal riots resulted in 98 fatalities. 
  • 1991 UP Riots: The majority of communal riots targeted Hindu processions and occurred majorly in cities like Varanasi, Meerut, Saharanpur and Kanpur, in which around 120 people were killed.  
  • Godhra Massacre: 59 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive in Sabarmati Express returning from Ayodhya. The same incident led to the 2002 Gujarat Riots, in which around a thousand people were killed.  
  • 2008 Kandhmal Violence: The riots were triggered after the brutal murder of Hindu Saint Lakshamanananda Saraswati, in which around 39 fatalities were reported.
  • 2012 Assam violence: In a conflict between Bodos and Bengali Muslims, about 80 were found dead. 
  • 2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots: After a series of Mafia crimes and tension in the region, a communal riot occurred between Hindus, mainly Jaats and Muslims, in which more than 60 and 90 people were killed and injured, respectively. The Apex Court even reprimanded the SP government for negligence and the Central government for failure to provide intelligence. 

The basic thing that we understood after going through this chronological sequence is that there were repeated riots and tensions, but the government deliberately failed to take any significant steps to curb these crimes. The government’s approach to tackling the loopholes in internal security and improving the law and order situation was abysmal, and one possible reason behind such degraded law and order situation gives birth to many contentious angles as the same government has a past of instigating and aiding riots. 

After 2014:

Under PM Narendra Modi’s tenure of 10 years, the government has laid special emphasis on strengthening the defence sector to counter both external and internal threats to the country. The rule of Law and order in the country and models of various state governments, such as the Yogi Model in UP, signify that the country has adopted intolerance against communal riots, terrorism and other anti-social things. In fact, we still need to work hard to completely eliminate unpleasant events such as the 2020 Delhi Riots and the 2023 Manipur clash, but it is very commendable that the government’s performance in terms of lifting the standards of Law and order and internal safety is at a greater height.

Let’s understand the overall scenario of the rule of Law and order in the country with the help of illustrations, 

  1. In 2019, when the Apex Court pronounced the verdict on Ram Mandir in favour of the Hindu side, many people speculated that this would create the same condition as was in 1990, but the government affirmed that “Not even a mosquito will die, forget about the humans,” and they lived up to it. Despite several anti-social elements warned of dire consequences if Ram Mandir is built and worked hard to trigger riots in the country, all failed. Sometimes I wonder, if the government had adopted the same model in 1990, then such a difficult condition wouldn’t have arisen in the country. 
  2. In the same year, when Article 370 was about to be revoked, many Kashmiri Separatist, eminent political leaders and parties warned the government if they did so, then the fire would not only scorch Kashmir but also burn the whole Bharat and the rest is history. Now, Kashmir is developing like other states, reviving itself to become the hub of tourism, and the youth of Kashmir is now picking up pens instead of stones. 

Another major reason behind communal riots and clashes is creating differences and treating a particular region, religion or Caste with an inferiority complex, but after 2014, a significant change we witnessed is that the government has run a campaign of uniting the Bharat based on Caste, religion and region. Before 2014, we have witnessed how parties used to divide people based on regions (North-South), religion (Hindu-Muslim) and Caste (Caste based identity), but in the past few years, we have witnessed how the present government has treated the whole Bharat equally and eliminated the politics of regionalism, and that’s the reason why left out Northeastern and Southern states are creating records in terms of development projects, nowadays people feel proud to be called as a proud Hindu instead with a caste identity and all religion of Bharat are getting equal representation.   

Around 10-20 years back, the northeastern states were under insurgency and crisis, and even the government didn’t pay sufficient attention to these states’ issues and often discriminated against and ignored their ethical or moral demands. The condition was so much deteriorated that this integral part of Bharat badly fell victim to communal clashes, riots, terrorism and separatism. But, now, this government treats every region of Bharat equally; thus, we all see how the Northeast has become a development model before the whole nation. Additionally, frequent visits of mainstream politicians to southern states and acknowledging their culture as a Bharatiya Culture attempt to wash off all the disparities that previous governments did.


The performance of different governments in strengthening internal security and establishing communal harmony is analyzed based on two parameters, i.e., the history of communal riots and the situation of law order; after this in-depth study, we conclude that the performance of government after 2014 is praiseworthy as our nation witnessed a tremendous fall in the graph of the communal riots and violence as compared to the time before 2014. Thus, the present government succeeded in debunking the propagandist notion created by urban Naxals and pseudo-secular elites and intellectuals that the BJP is a riot-instigating party, and if the BJP arrived in power, then the country would begin burning in the flames of riots. Our government is taking laudable steps towards promoting brotherhood and peace among the people of Bharatvarsh and further ensuring a strong, firm, intolerant law and order to counter internal and external threats.   

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