Communal Riots India - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material

Communal Riots India

by Devender

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Communalism becomes a problem when it turns to riots and it happens often in India due to the diversity of religions in India. The problem starts when religion is seen as the basis of national unity and identity.

Communal Riots India

  • The problem of communalism becomes more severe when people of a particular religion are targeted against the other ones
  • Politicians also use communalism as a major tool to sabotage any elections
  • They use sacred symbols, religious leader’s emotional appeal, and plain fear in order to bring the followers of one religion together against the other religious community
  • Despite the secular character in India and equal freedom to everyone, India saw a lot of communal riots which were very brutal and took the lives of thousands of people.

  • Ayodhya Dispute:
  • There was a dispute going on for decades over a mosque in Ayodhya known as Babri Masjid. It was built by Babur’s General and Hindus believed that this mosque was build by demolishing a temple of Lord Rama which is also his birthplace.

  • This dispute reached Court in the late 1940s and the mosque was locked up
  • The case carried for decades until finally in 1986, the Faizabad district court ordered that the Babri masjid be unlocked and Hindus are allowed to worship the statue which they considered as a temple
  • However, as soon as the doors were unlocked, the mobilization on communal lines began on both sides
  • Soon this issue turned from a local issue to a national issue
  • Many Karsevaks of Hindu Right Wing faction like VHP, Bajrang Dal, etc. arrived at Ayodhya in December 1992 in the name of "Karseva, voluntary service by devotees to build Ram temple"
  • The supreme court ordered the state government to ensure that no harm is done to the undisputed site
  • However, still, on Dec. 06, 1992, thousands of people reached there and demolished the Babri Masjid
  • The demolition of the masjid brought communal riots throughout the country in which many people died and the Union government dismissed the state government and appointed the Librehan Commission to investigate the circumstances leading to this demolition.


  • Anti-Sikh Riots:
  • At the orders of Indira Gandhi, the Indian Army launched an operation named "Operation Blue Star" with an aim to drive out the Sikh militants hiding at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

  • The army entered the sacred Sikh place and successfully drove out the militants
  • But, it hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community
  • People were not happy about this and to avenge these actions, the bodyguards of Indira Gandhi killed her at her own residence
  • Congress leaders, activists, and workers angered by this, took brutal actions and killed innocent Sikh people all around the country
  • The most impact was felt in Delhi
  • Even after nearly 30 years of this incident, the family members of these innocent people killed during this time are still waiting for Justice
  • Union government appointed many commissions to find the people guilty in all this but no concrete came out of any commission

  • Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat:
  • It happened in 2002 in Gujarat. It is still considered one of the most brutal communal riots in history.

  • It all started at the Godhra Station in Gujarat where a bogey of the train was set on fire
  • The passengers in that bogey were karsevaks returning from Ayodhya
  • Hindus suspected it was a Muslim conspiracy
  • They started large-scale violence against Muslims in many parts of Gujarat

Even the National Human Rights Commission criticized the Gujarat government for failing to not controlling the riots and not being able to provide shelter to the victims and prosecuting the perpetrators of this violence.



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