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Wednesday 26 April 2017
News updated at 1:10 PM IST

Stop violence

September 9, 2013: 23:30 IST
For almost a fortnight now, Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh has been convulsed in communal violence.

Clashes have left at least 19 people dead so far. The toll could be higher as several people are reported missing. It was an incident of sexual harassment that apparently provided the spark for the conflagration. An inflammatory video uploaded on the Internet that fuelled ugly rumours and incendiary speeches by politicians of different political parties seem to have kept the communal cauldron bubbling.

The government’s deployment of the army as well as paramilitary forces has put a lid on the violence for now. However, there is concern that the tension will spread across the state. Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a large number of communal incidents over the past year, forcing the government to impose curfew at various times on 22 of the state’s 70 districts. This is worrying.

Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde recently revealed that while 412 incidents of communal violence occurred all of last year, 451 incidents have happened over the past eight months alone.

Contrary to the general perception that communal violence is spontaneous, studies show that this is largely engineered, planned and orchestrated. Thus, communal violence isn’t inevitable but can be prevented. What is more, incidents of communal violence in India are mostly an urban phenomenon, with such violence happening in some cities more than others. A comparison of cities that are prone to communal violence with those that have been relatively peaceful reveals that the latter are rich in inter-communal associations.

While state-initiated efforts to build peace committees have prevented communal violence in several neighbourhoods in Mumbai, civil society, too, must pitch in more substantially. Uttar Pradesh, which boasts of a rich Hindu-Muslim heritage and culture, will benefit immensely from such efforts.

Importantly, the Uttar Pradesh government needs to act to restore public confidence in the police. Religious minorities perceive the police as prejudiced against them and acting in a partisan manner. Instead of taking concrete steps to improve the image and functioning of the police force, the Akhilesh Yadav government’s approach is to mollify the conservative Muslim clergy with handouts. With a general election round the corner, parties will be looking to polarise society. If Yadav doesn’t act to address the issue now, the communal situation could slide out of control.

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Wife of of CRPF martyr Surender Thakur, who was killed in Naxal attack in Sukma chhattisgarh ...

Wife of of CRPF martyr Surender Thakur, who was killed in Naxal attack in Sukma chhattisgarh ...

Wife of CRPF martyr Inspector Raghbir Singh saluting her husband's body during his funeral in ...

Wife of CRPF martyr Inspector Raghbir Singh saluting her husband's body during his funeral in ...

Daughter of CRPF martyr Sanjay Kumar, who was killed in Naxal attack in Sukma chhattisgarh, wail ...

Daughter of CRPF martyr Sanjay Kumar, who was killed in Naxal attack in Sukma chhattisgarh, wail ...

CRPF martyr Inspector Raghbir Singh being carried during his funeral in village Sathiala, some 50 ..

CRPF martyr Inspector Raghbir Singh being carried during his funeral in village Sathiala, some 50 ..

Union Minister Radhakrishnan paying respect to the body of CRPF martyr Alagupandi, at Madurai ...

Union Minister Radhakrishnan paying respect to the body of CRPF martyr Alagupandi, at Madurai ...

Injured CRPF jawans being airlifted to Raipur by an IAF chopper for treatment on Monday follwing ...

Injured CRPF jawans being airlifted to Raipur by an IAF chopper for treatment on Monday follwing ...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh enquiring about the health of injured CRPF personnel at the ...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh enquiring about the health of injured CRPF personnel at the ...

School children pay tribute to CRPF jawans killed in the naxal attack in Chhattisgarh's Sukma ...

School children pay tribute to CRPF jawans killed in the naxal attack in Chhattisgarh's Sukma ...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh paying tribute to CRPF jawans killed in the naxal attack in ...

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh paying tribute to CRPF jawans killed in the naxal attack in ...

Injured CRPF being brought to Raipur for treatment on Monday follwing a Maoist attack at Burkapal ..

Injured CRPF being brought to Raipur for treatment on Monday follwing a Maoist attack at Burkapal ..

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