10 things to know about communal riots in India over the past decade

India has been a volatile land since 1947. Religion has been the sole driving force behind the country’s rationale. However communal rioting in India has been on a decline but other kinds of riots have cropped up. Communal riots in India have declined by a third since 2014.


  • About 40% fewer Indians died or got injured in 2015 (1,174) than in 2014 (2,001).


  • The country’s 17th largest state by population, Haryana reported most communal cases in 2015 (201 cases) with 200 dead or injured. The figure chased by Karnataka (163 cases) with 203 victims. Maharashtra follows by 80 cases, 104 victims and Bihar has 79 cases, 146 victims.


  • In Haryana, the rate of riots remained the same at 7.5 rioting cases per million population. There has been reported increase in Karnataka from 0.6 rioting cases per million to 2.6 cases per million population. Overall, increase in the country shows rise from 38 in 2014 to 163 in 2015.


  • Kerala alone accounts for more than half of India’s ‘political riots.’


  • The cases were at a peak at 160 cases per million population in 1980. 2003-2012 has been a relatively peaceful decade with respect to communal violence.


  • The tribal states have become five times more communally peaceful in 2015 when assembly elections were conducted with a drop of 80% from 349 cases to 68.


  • The incidence of riots has increased over the last three years to 60 cases per million or 20% more frequent as compared to the last decade.


  • The highest ever cases were recorded in 2015 with 76,131 cases. This indicates 251% increase over the past six decades. In 2014 and 2015, riots crime have been listed under “unlawful assembly.”


  • Of 76,131 rioting cases registered in 2015, 65,255 were filed under Section 147 to 153 of IPC meaning offences related to riots and 10,876 cases were filed under Section 141 of the IPC meaning offences related to unlawful assembly.


  • Bihar and Kerala have been tagged as the “Riot leaders of India.” Bihar had 13,311 cases registered in 2015. The assembly elected in Bihar in 2015, the separation of the 25-year-old coalition of the Janata Dal and BJP resulted in rise in riots over three years from 2013. Whereas, Kerala had 164 rioting cases per million population, the highest rate in the country.

World’s toughest to-do list at UN General Assembly

While the United Nations General Assembly in session in New York this week, 140 heads of state gather to discuss the agenda for this year, in 71st  annual assembly. In addition, this will be Ban Ki- Moon’s last meeting as the UN Secretary General. Also, Barrack Obama will attend the assembly and make his final address for the last time as the President of the Unites States. Here are the few instances where dialogue translated into peaceful resolution:

Curbing violent extremism:


Terrorism has cast a dark spell in quite a few parts of the world this year and the central forces are failing miserably to check what seems to be the greatest threat to mankind. In fact, while the General Assembly is in session on the East River in Manhattan, the city was bombed injuring 29 people, which is now being by the New York Police. On the same day, a man stabbed nine people at a mall in Minnesota; and a blast disrupted a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey.

After these possible terror attacks, the security has been tightened around all the UN events. Europe, on the other hand, has seen multiple instances of infiltration by extremists as well as ISIS militants, and very frequently at that.In addition the recent attack on the Uri Army Base in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Pakistan’s denying any involvement in the assault when India has concrete evidences against them, has been the talk of the town ever since. To top it up, anti democratic speeches, coupled by counter speeches, particularly by Nawaz Sharif and other international political dignitaries outweighed the forum’s agenda to avoid war and negotiate differences.

Foster peace in the ravaged Middle East


In what seems to be an undying remnant of the cold war, Syria has born the maximum brunt of the never-ending tension between the US and Russia. The issue, which started with Moscow’s intervention in Syria after a strenuous meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Obama last year, has escalated out of proportion. This in response to the US strike on Syrian forces that the military had thought was an ISIS target. Moscow argued that the US was not ready to fully cooperate with them to fight militancy in the Middle-East, especially Syria, in an emergency Security Council meeting called by Russia after the US strike. Moscow also warned that the Syrian ceasefire might break down as a result of the assault.  

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the architects of the nascent ceasefire, are expected to meet and offer an update on its progress.

The world faces the worst global refugee crisis in a quarter century:


As per statistics offered by the United Nations, more than 21 million people are displaced today, half of them children, all of them in need of food, shelter, safety and livelihoods.  Waves of people fleeing countries such as Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan have overwhelmed the international refugee system. This record- breaking number of destabilised refugees has not only overwhelmed European nations leading to redefining its political landscape, but has also increased the risk of terrorist infiltrators. Moreover, it is giving rise to of right-leaning anti-immigrant political parties in Europe and becoming a divisive US presidential campaign issue as well. Emphasizing on the unprecedented strain that the refugees have placed on the host countries, Donald Trump warned a crowd to “lock your doors” to stay safe from Syrian refugees, and in June added that “a lot of those people are ISIS.” However, Obama announced that that it will increase the number of refugees it absorbs from 85,000 this year to 110,000 in 2017. Apart from expanded refugee settlement, the US is also ready to provide them with new opportunities such as improved access to education and legal employment. In addition, the administration said it would give $11 million to a UN fund that helps countries accepting refugees.

Threat of nuclear weapons


This month, North Korea’s largest nuclear test has managed to raise quite a few eyebrows at various international forums, mostly because the area accounts for 40 per cent of the global economy. Barrack Obama is all set to discuss all major Asian issues with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, besides North Korea’s nuclear tests.

Amongst the acoustics echoing in the grand hall that allows for shouts and screams to be heard by all, the ubiquitous issues of ending poverty, disease and hunger seem somewhat meek to be subjugated. However, the Assembly often plants the seeds for resolution of conflicts and hot button issues; even if it does not manage to provide absolute solutions.


What is killing people in India?

Apart from the preventable diseases that you might want your kids to get vaccinated against, here is alist of five deadly, if not fatal (all the time) diseases that are eating the society up. And what’s worse, you won’t even know that they are feeding on you, since today.

1. Heart disease and stroke: As ubiquitous as it may sound, it actually is the cause of 31 per cent deaths globally every year. Heart disease clubbed with stroke (referred to as cardiovascular diseases) claims one in every four lives in India. Premature heart attacks happen due to less physical exercise, changing diets, obesity, and usage of tobacco products. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, 80 per cent of these cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by controlling risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight and high blood sugar (diabetes).

2. Respiratory Diseases: Approximately 8 per cent deaths are caused in India due to respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary hypertension, intestinal lung diseases, and occupational lung diseases. This is caused by smoking tobacco, air pollution, dust, and occupational chemicals. These block the air passages and cause shortness of breath, and if not treated; a prolonged exposure to these irritants can lead to fatal illness. Lung diseases are not reversible with lung transplantation being the only option, but are avoidable by minimising exposure to smoke, dust and chemicals.

3. Cancer: 7,36,000 people have lost their life to cancer only in the year 2016, and this figure surfaces when only a meagre 12.5 per cent people get diagnosed and choosing to get treated. More people are dying of cancer in India as compared to the previous years. While breast cancer takes a major toll on women across the nation, lung cancer kills most men across the globe. Lung cancer is the eighth deadliest cancer. The treatment of cancer is exorbitantly high and cannot be afforded by 60 per cent of the patients. Also, as per statistics, one third of cancer deaths are due to the five behavioural and dietary risks that are common to all lifestyle-related diseases: overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use.

4. Perinatal Conditions: More babies die in the womb, at birth or in the first week of life in India than anywhere else in the world. Prematurity and low birth-weight, neonatal infections such as septicaemia, birth asphyxia and birth trauma are the leading causes of perinatal deaths, defined as deaths between 22 completed weeks (154 days) of gestation and seven days after birth, kill 27.7 per 1,000 live births in India compared to the world’s average of 19.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Monitoring the mother and child’s nutrition and health through all the stages of pregnancy and ensuring the baby is delivered by trained health-workers at a clinic or hospital can help manage complications and bring down perinatal deaths substantially.

5. Type 2 diabetes: Lifestyle choices like lack of exercise, unhealthy meal planning and obesity cause insulin resistance in the body that leads to Type 2 diabetes. The body produces enough insulin to transport the glucose to the cells but unfortunately, the body resists that insulin. This leads to haggardness and fatigue among other symptoms.

The curious stories behind Indian states and their name changes

The Legislative Assembly of West Bengal recently passed a resolution to change the name of the State to Bengal in English and Bangla in Bengali. The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress did not succeed in winning the consent of Congress, the Left Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the name change resolution, but managed to pass it after a vigorous debate in the assembly.

While the state legislature has passed the resolution, under Rule 169, the consent of the Parliament is required to complete the process of name change.  However, this is not the first time that the state has pushed for a name change. In 1999, when the Left government was in power, it passed a resolution to rename the state to Bangla. When Banerjee first came to power in 2011, her government passed a resolution to change the name of the state to Paschim Banga, in both Bengali and English. While both these instances saw the resolution being passed unanimously in the state legislature, it was rejected at the central level.

West Bengal’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee, a multi-disciplinary scholar, who has moved the motion for a name change this time around, has reasoned that the name change is pertinent to provide the state to speak right after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, instead of voicing their opinion as the last state, according to the alphabetical list. This was allegedly pushed forward by the ruling party, after their leader Mamata Banerjee had to wait for over six hours at the recently concluded inter-state meeting. The parties in Opposition are citing that the name change would not push the state upwards in the ladder of development.

Here is a list of states whose names have been changed in the past:

Uttaranchal to Uttrakhand:

When the States Reorganisation Committee formed the state under BJP leadership in 1998, the Centre decided to name the state Uttaranchal. However, this did not sit well with the local population and activists who fought under the banner of Uttarakhand Sangharsh Samiti. It is said that the BJP, to take credit for the formation of the state, and in order to not project it as a victory of the activists. In 2006, with the Congress in power at the Centre, the resolution for the name changed was passed by the Parliament.

Orissa to Odisha:

Following the prolonged lobbying by the BJP, the once east-coastal state of Orissa was renamed to Odisha in 2009. The party based their fight for the name change on the premise of a 15th century vedic text that said, “land of the Odiya, named Odisha.” They also argued for the name change citing that one of the state’s famous poet Gajapati Kapileswaradeva referred to the rule in the state as “Odisa Rajya,” in his carvings on the walls of the infamous Jagannath temple.

Madras to Tamil Nadu:

The Sangam literature referred to the geographical area Madras, christened by the British colonialists as Tamilagam. It did not matter, given the that the state was formed right after independence as the political ideology was not yet clear, and having a foreign name suited the state just fine. But the Dravidian movement that spread across the geographical area in the early 60s, after the dismantling of the multilingual Tamil Nadu. Both the Dravidian parties – DK and DMK lead the cry for the state  to be called Tamil Nadu, translating to “Home of Tamils.”

Mysore to Karnataka:

The area that makes up today’s Karnataka were under twenty different administrative units. Princely state of Mysuru, Nizam’s Hyderabad, The Bombay Presidency, The Madras Presidency and The territory of Kodagu are a few states that constituted the state. The state was renamed Karnataka in 1976 as the geographical boundaries now included the area that weren’t under the Mysore province, and in order to create a sense of identity on the basis of language, the state was renamed Karnataka.