Following Chris’s response to my previous post, correctly questioning whether it makes sense to use vaguely defined “incidents” to measure communal violence, it took me a while to locate better data. I found some up-to-date statistics on casualties of communal violence in a table annexed to a 10 December 2013 Ministry of Home Affairs reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. This measure, I think, better reflects the intensity of communal violence. The data cover the period 2010 to October 2013.
The findings are unambiguous: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states have higher levels of communal violence than do Indian National Congress (INC)-ruled states. The BJP-ruled states in this sample have an incidence rate of 4.3 per million, which is 59% higher than the INC-controlled states. BJP states have a casualty rate of 13.1 per million, 56% higher than their Congress counterparts.
Of these states, Karnataka and Gujarat are by far the most violent (remember that Karnataka was run by the BJP during this period). Uttar Pradesh shines in comparison, and that too during a period that includes the Muzaffarnagar riots and excludes the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Someone needs to ask prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi how “good governance” in Gujarat has led to a communal incidence rate 68% higher than the national average and an intensity of communal strife that is 83% higher.
Needless to say the original premise of the Mail Today story is bass ackwards.
Update on Feb 17
Thanks to Tripti Lahiri for pointing out that the 2012 Kokrajhar riots in Assam are inexplicably excluded from the Home Ministry’s table, an omission that others had also noted last year.
To bring Assam in we need to broaden the analysis to all states that had at least one communal violence death during the period under study, which in this instance are Congress-ruled Assam and BJP-ruled Jharkhand.
This adjustment lowers the casualty rate of the BJP states to 12.1 per million, which is still 46% higher than the 8.3 per million of their Congress-ruled counterparts. The casualty rate for states run by regional parties (Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) is lower still, at 5.9 per million.
Update on May 7
The following table incorporates fresh numbers provided by a Ministry of Home Affairs reply to a Feb 5 Rajya Sabha question with data for all of 2013 (the earlier table covered the period between 2010 and October 2013):
The conclusion is unchanged: BJP-ruled states are still more communally violent than others. BJP states have a casualty rate of 12.4 per million, 45% higher than Congress-ruled states and 70% greater than the national average. Gujarat has a communal incidence rate 70% higher than the national average and a casualty rate that is 82% higher.