Nine states witness increase in communal incidents, UP tops the list

UP has witnessed 457 communal incidents this year, between Jan 1 and October 30

MHA asks states, UTs to remain alert amid calls to incite violence (File) Representational image | PTI

Both BJP and non-BJP ruled states have witnessed a strain in communal situation this year as compared to last year. The latest data with intelligence agencies shows a rise in communal incidents in nine states, led by Uttar Pradesh and followed by Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Assam, Kerala, Tripura, Delhi and Odisha.

UP has witnessed 457 communal incidents this year, between January 1 and October 30, as compared to 396 incidents for the corresponding period last year.

Rajasthan witnessed 165 incidents this year, compared to 116 communal incidents last year. West Bengal witnessed 79 incidents as compared to 57 last year; Gujarat saw 40 incidents against 26 last year; Assam witnessed 20 communal incidents against 17 such incidents last year while Odisha saw five incidents against none last year. Delhi saw eight incidents against six last year while Kerala saw 19 against 14 incidents last year. Tripura has seen eight incidents this year as compared to none last year for the corresponding period, according to an intelligence report.

This year, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of Article 370 and the latest Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue are some of the issues that are keeping the security forces on their toes. While the UP government has thanked people of the state for maintaining communal harmony, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met religious leaders recently, emphasising the need to maintain peace and harmony, thereby displaying the focus of the security establishment on communal situation in the country.

While the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau said there has been a decline in rioting across states, the home ministry and security agencies are keeping a close watch on the communal scenario with government sources saying attempts to disturb communal harmony could be made using various means, including provocative content on social media.

While rioting incidents may not be limited to communal tension alone, the 'Crime in India 2017' report of the NCRB showed that the country witnessed 58,880 rioting cases against 61,974 cases the previous year, suggesting a decline. Meanwhile, police forces across states are carrying out anti-riot drills, alert to the possibility of attempts to disrupt communal harmony by inimical forces in the coming months, the sources said.