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Ongoing Communal Riots, 2009 (A Report of Communal violence which occurred during the year 2008-09)

by Asghar Ali Engineer, Social Action, Jan-Mar 2010.

The year 2009 did not witness any major riot since the Gujarat riots of 2002, though the pattern of continuing riots is ongoing. However, no year so far has been a riot-free year. Communal violence erupts on a smaller scale in different places throughout India. It is interesting tonote that since the Mumbai riots of 1992-93 there was no major communal riot until the Gujarat riots in 2002, except in Coibatore in 1998 in which about 40 persons were killed. Similarly, since the Gujarat riots of 2002 there has been no major communal riots except in Kandhamal, Orissa, in which also around 40 people were killed. All this abundantly proves that communalism is a political and not a religious phenomenon and that communal graph goes up and down depending on the political dynamics of a region. It gives us hope that the bewildering diversity of Indian society cannot sustain communal violence on a long-term basis. If communal violence erupts, it is more because of weakness of secular forces than the strength of communal forces. Secular parties often lose courage and political will in the face of communal onslalught at certain junctures. If secular parties show courage and strong political will there is no reason why communalism will have a long lease of life.


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