The National Crime Records Bureau data for 2017 released on Monday had skipped the data entry for category ‘victims’ of communal and religious rioting for Gujarat. It was the only entry missing, among all states and union territories, despite 44 incidents of communal/religious rioting reported from the state.
When asked about it, DIGP of state crime records bureau (SCRB) Archana Shivhare said, “Gujarat state has 44 incidents (of communal/religious rioting) and 88 victims. However there is a mistake in publishing (by) NCRB. We are coordinating for correction.”
In NCRB data, rioting is broken down into 17 categories – communal/religious, sectarian, industrial, political, caste conflict, agrarian, students, vigilantes, money dispute, water dispute, land/property dispute, family disputes, enmity /rivalry, electricity/power supply disputes, rioting while in andolan/morcha, rioting/attacks in police personnel or government servants and other rioting.
A total of 1,740 incidents of rioting were reported in Gujarat between January 1 and December 31, 2017, with 2,373 people affected (victims). The rate of riots, which is the number of incidents per lakh of the population, is 2.7 in Gujarat. Gujarat had 1.36 victims per riot, while the country’s average was 1.53 victims per riot.
When it comes to communal violence specifically, and not any other kinds of riots, the countrywide incidence is 723 riots, with 1,092 victims.
Among all states and union territories, communal/religious riots were recorded only 17 states. Gujarat also reported 18 incidents which were tagged under ‘promoting enmity between different groups (IPC Section 153a).’ Incidentally, Gujarat is also the only state in India that applies the Disturbed Areas Act.
Areas are declared as ‘disturbed’ when it has experiences a substantial period of riot or violence. The state has been expanding the number of such areas, with several areas listed as ‘disturbed areas’ in Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Surat and Vadodara.
Of the 44 incidents of communal/religious rioting in the state, seven incidents with seven victims were from the metropolitan cities of Ahmedabad (5) and Surat (2). A total of 135 incidents of all kinds of riots (all 17 categories) were reported in Ahmedabad, while a total of 121 incidences of the 17 types of riots were reported from Surat. In Surat, communal riots made up only about 1.5 percent of all riots.
Notably, cases of enmity/rivalry, with 280 incidents and 348 victims, make up the largest chunk of rioting cases in the state, apart from those categorised into ‘others’. Family disputes (143) and agrarian rioting (126) follow.
Under enmity/rivalry, cities of Ahmedabad and Surat reported 23 and 70 incidents respectively.
NCRB data records 54 incidents of caste conflict (under the riots ) in the state and 111 victims, which is on average more than two victims per caste conflict. The state ranks highest in the intensity of caste conflict pan India, although only a total of 16 states of all 29 states and 7 UTs (as per 2017) reported caste conflicts.
Meanwhile, under Special and Local Laws crime, pertaining to crimes against SC/ST communities, Gujarat registered 55 cases with 167 victims. None of these were from the urban areas of Ahmedabad and Surat. Gujarat was also one of 12 states where casteism was a motive for murder (3 such murder cases).
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