Increase in communal violence in poll-bound UP: Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi: Poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has seen a rise in incidents of communal violence with 162 such cases reported last year as against 155 in 2015, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said today.

As many as 488 and 419 people were injured during 2016 and 2015 respectively in these incidents, he said in a written reply to Lok Sabha. A total of 29 people were killed in these incidents in 2016, as against 22 in 2015. In all 133 such incidents were reported in UP in 2013 resulting in death of 26 people and injury to 374, he said. A 7-phase assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Uttar Pradesh on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 27 and on March 4 and 8 and contentious issues like construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and love jihad are back in political discourse.

Congress-ruled Karnataka reported 101 cases of communal violence, whereas BJP-ruled Maharashtra witnessed 68 such incidents last year. A total of 248 people were injured and 12 died in these incidents in Karnataka. In Maharashtra, 234 people were injured and six killed.

There has, however, been an overall decrease in the number of communal violence cases reported in 2016 as against 2015. In all, 703 such cases were registered last year as against 751 in 2015. As many as 86 people lost their lives, while 2,321 were injured in communal violence reported from across the country.

In 2015, altogether 97 people were killed and 2,264 received injuries in communal conflagrations. BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh reported 57 cases in 2016 as against 92 in 2015. A total of 191 and 177 people were injured in 2016 and 2015, respectively. West Bengal saw an increase in incidents of communal violence with 32 cases registered last year as against 27 in 2015. A total of 252 were injured and four lost their lives in these cases in 2016 as against the corresponding figures of 84 and five the previous year.

There was a silver lining with no incidents of communal violence reported from Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Union Territory Chandigarh.

“The responsibilities of maintaining law and order, including investigation, registration/prosecution of crimes, conviction of accused etc. and maintaining relevant data rest primarily with the respective state governments,” Rijiju said. The central government has issued communal harmony guidelines to all states and Union Territories, which lay down standard operating procedures to be put in place to deal with situation arising out of the communal violence, he said.