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Communal Riots In India

Updated on 05 February 2021
7 min read 92 views
Updated on 05 February 2021

Communal Violence can be defined as the violence between two communities over individual communal interest. Communal violence has disturbed the peace of the country over the years. The history of India has recorded some of the most violent riots of its time. The major riots include Gujarat Riots, Kashmir Riots, Sikh Riots and many more. There are many communal riots that can be seen till now. Communal Riots in Hindi are called ‘Sampradayik Dange’. 

List of Communal Riots in India

There were many communal riots in India. These communal riots paved the way for many new laws in the constitution in India. Below is a list of some of the major riots in India.




Parsee – Muslim Riots

October 1851


Bharuch Riot

May 1857

Bharuch & Mumbai

Nagpur Riots

September 4 1927

Nagpur, Maharashtra

Direct Action Day

August 1946


Noakhali Riots

October – November 1946

Noakhali, Bengal

Gujarat Riots

September – October 1969


Worli Riots



Moradabad Riots

August 1940


Nellie Massacre

February 1983


Bhiwandi Riots

May 1984


Anti – Sikh Riots

October – November 1984

Delhi & Punjab

Gujarat Riots



Meerut Riots

April – May 1987


Delhi Riots

May 1987


Aurangabad Violence

May 1988


Rajasthan Violence

September 1989


Vadodara Riots

May 2006


Kandhamal Violence

August 2008

Kandhamal district

Assam Violence

July – September 2012


These are some of the major violent events that happened in the past. The communal riots were a kind of protest that demanded different rights for particular communities. 

Now, let us talk about communal riots 2018. There were minor riots or violence that took place in 2018. There was one communal riot that shook the democracy in India. The Asifa Bano case caused many Hindu – Muslim communal riots. This was the major riot that took place in the Kathua district. 

Last year too there were some riots that took place in Delhi. The violence began on 23rd February 2020 and continued till 29th February 2020. This riot was caused due to hate speech, provocation, mass mobilization and religious nationalism. The citizens demanded the prevention of the citizenship amendment act and ethnic and religious persecution. More than 200 people were injured in this communal protest. This was the most recent communal riot in Delhi.   

Causes of Communal Riots

Communal harmony must be maintained at all costs. But this is not the case everywhere. There are various reasons why communal violence happens and harmony is somewhere lost which we shall see below. 

1. Reminiscing the Past:  

Due to Jinnah’s ‘two-nation theory’ India and Pakistan were made. Over the time, many communal parties have taken advantage of this. The Britishers took advantage and ruled the nation through the divide and rule policy. Communalism is considered as the legacy of the past, which can come into attention by starting various riots thereby, leading to bloodshed. 

2. Community Parties:

The political leaders that we chose, play with our sentiments and trust. They teach us about communalism and ironically they are the ones who start this communal violence. The ‘secular’ political parties like Akali Dal, Hindu Mahasabha and many more are responsible for the communal riots in India.

3. Poverty: 

Due to unemployment and high illiteracy rates, people can be fooled easily into religious communalism. Moreover, when Hindus are compared with Muslims, a sense of envy and jealousy is aroused between both the communities which lead to communal disharmony. The poor economy leads to communalism in a country. 

4. The Social Factor:

Many initiatives have been taken up by the government to control the population in India. But due to Hindus being the majority, ridicule Muslims about their growing population which leads to a sense of contempt among both the communities. Moreover, people also accept different religions over time which might not be liked by their community members thereby, leading to communal disharmony. 

5. Government:

One reason why communal riots happen is that the government is not able to control the riots. For instance, the Gujarat riots happened due to the failure of handling people. This leads to communalism which is caused by the lack of preventive measures.   

Communal riots create an imbalance between several communities. Looking at the historical record, these riots lead to severe bloodsheds thereby leading to the loss of the economy as a whole. There were communal riots in Delhi, Gujarat and many other places. People demanded equal rights for their communities which lead to this violence. Thus, communal violence must be avoided at all costs which can improve the economic status of the country.  

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