Communal riots are a dangerous and a frightful phenomena and a curse for our society. Not only does a communal riot ends up in loss of lives and property, it divides and polarizes the society and gives rise to vicious political debates.
A lot of literature has been written and studies conducted on the issue of communal riots in India. But author of these studies are often labelled as ideologically colored rendering their work unacceptable by 'other' ideological camp. Hence, it'll be an informative and revealing exercise to see, direct from newspaper reports, that what causes these communal riots?
Two things should be followed.
First, the cause of a communal riot should be seen and understood direct from the newitems in the newspaper. Understanding and reconstructing the chain of event from political commentators and inquery commissions will reduce the truth element. The newspaper report can also be politically motived and biased but the likelihood of ideology contaminating the truth in a credible way is much less in case of newsitems as compared to reports of inquiry commisions and political commentators. One can always refer to multiple newspaper and reasonably filter out the truth.
Second, the news of communal riot should be studied and analyzed at the time of its occurance itself. Analyzing such an event after lapse of time makes it more difficult to sift facts from ideologically-motived fiction. Since we, unfortunately, have so many communal riots, the sample size is not a problem in such a study and we have enough number of instances of communal riots where such a study can be done.
I am starting such a study of communal riots where I'll just post the reporting of recent communal riots from mainstream newspapers. The purpose is to understand how and why of the communal riots. I welcome others to contribute by pointing to such newsitems.
To start, here is the newsitem about a recent communal riot in Amravati, Maharastra.
Date - Oct 25, 2007
As youngsters danced to the drumbeats, a small quantity of gulal is believed to have fallen on a Muslim religious place. This led to an argument between the two groups which soon turned to stone-pelting and rioting, eyewitnesses said.