BJP-ruled states more communally violent

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.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 5.16.08 pm

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):

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 3.40.15 pm

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.

30 thoughts on “BJP-ruled states more communally violent

  1. Suspect the timing of release of this information. All chances of the timing being planned as it can influence minds of voters in Lok Sabha election scheduled in May 2014

  2. Alok Srivastava

    Hi.. Could you please tell me why will you include only injured people in your analysis and not the people who were killed? Any scientific backing for that? Moreover, when you say the results are unambiguous what do you mean? Are you sure that your analysis looks at various other aspects such as minority population dynamics in a state, presence of communally sensitive areas etc? More importantly, did you try to know how are the incidences and injured defined in the table? As long as you have not done these the results cannot be unambiguous.

    Now looking at why you did not look at people killed per million because then suddenly Gujarat does not look that bad (0.40 killed per million during 2010-Oct2013) which is better than 0.51 (+27% to Gujarat) for Maharashtra and 0.49 (+23% to Gujarat) for Rajasthan and substantially better than 0.84 (+110% to Gujarat) for UP. My point is that even this is nothing conclusive but please don’t hide things just to prove your point. As a matter of fact, any analysis cannot be fool proof and the moment you mentioned ‘unambiguous’ for your analysis it was clear that you are biased.

    Anyways that’s my opinion and opinions are always ambiguous 🙂

    1. My analysis looks at total casualties which is killed + injured, so it is incorrect to say that people who were killed were excluded. More data is better, and I believe the total number of casualties better reflects levels of communal strife.

  3. Nitin

    well when this data is compared with total number of illiterate population, then congress ruled states of Maharashtra is are far worse then BJP ruled states of Gujarat…

    don’t fool people with respect in your statistics … or for that case MOH statistics..
    what matters is hope for the future and not

    1. If you mean communal violence per unit of illiterate population, while it is true that Maharashtra has a higher literacy rate than Gujarat, there is no evidence that only illiterate people carry out communal violence.

  4. Tushar Mohan

    Kindly elaborete where have the riots in gujarat occured, does it mean media was sleeping under …… all along ? Just posting figures without facts is bull shit, as per this data even 2 persons quarelling becomes communal :)) laughing stock

  5. naweenen

    In dealing with a statistic such as casualties for communal incidents, does a per million statistic make sense? The per million statistic used in maternal/child mortality rates deals with systemic/environmental issues which have a gradual curve of improvement. For something like riots which are one-time controllable (and avoidable without much investment in either infra or services) incidents, wouldn’t the absolute number of casualties be a better representation of facts?

    1. I obviously disagree. As I write on 12 Feb ( “The total number of incidents of communal violence in a state tells you nothing very interesting about the level of communal violence. A larger state will have more of everything than a smaller one. What you need is the number of communal violence incidents per unit of population.”

    1. If you look at the Feb 17 update above you will see that I acknowledge the discrepancy and correct for it. This corrected data is the basis for my Firstpost article (as you will see when you compare the government table with my table in that article).

      1. AS

        Actually, the fact that the government table doesn’t include the Assam riots calls their methodology into question and completely negates this data. After all, if they missed the Assam riots they could have easily missed or miscategorized communal incidents in other states.

        Also, the fact that you easily accepted the “0” incidents in Assam at first until questioned by a reader shows your inherent bias and lack of credibility. Sorry, but no number of donation-bought degrees at foreign universities will help you.

      2. Let’s just agree to disagree.

        And don’t let me stop you from being consistent and bringing the same level of scepticism to claims made about Gujarat’s economic growth, social indicators etc.

  6. Suneel

    I am giving you the government definition of a ‘communal incident’ from which this data has been compiled.

    My neighbour is a Muslim who is married to a Hindu wife. Inter-religious marriages are not very uncommon in India. Recently there was a fight between the husband and wife and the wife’s brothers came and beat up my neighbour. He went to the police station to lodge a complaint prior to getting treated for his injuries. The police asked him to avoid lodging a complaint and called the other party and tried to play peace mongers. Reason? the complaint, if registered, would be classified as a communal incident and the police then needs to give many clarifications about it.

    You talk about casualties per million. I would draw your attention to casualties per incident. they are in the range of 3-4. Just limit the details to the incidents where casualty figures are more than 10. We can then say that some mobs clashed. Let us see what figures emerge.

    1. There are undoubtedly errors in reporting crimes to police, but in statistics we assume that these errors cancel out over large samples. So some communal incidents may not get reported and other non-communal incidents may be categorised erroneously as communal. But this will be true of all crime data. The question is whether biases vary from state to state and there is no way to answer this easily.

      Also the data are not disaggregated to the point where we can conduct tests such as the one you suggest (restricting the analysis to incidents of 10+ casualties).

      1. Suneel

        That is an accepted issue with statistical data. It gives erroneous conclusions. If the data in hand points at mainly non mob involvement as in this case, it is better discarded. Let us confine ourselves to what was reported as a communal riot in the media. Surely that data is available somewhere.

      2. Suneel

        I will revert if I lay my hands on such data. Professional data miners can be of better help. Till then I would suggest that no data is better than questionable data.

  7. Highly Suspicious Sir .
    This is an India Today Report on communal clashes, they seem to suggest a different story, and am no person to confirm the authenticity !! but, they also say that its data by MHA !!
    But it is up to you to confirm the authenticity of the so called Stat that you have cited above as the data by Ministry of Home Affairs !!!
    Its time you confirm your data to be authentic !!

      1. Suneel

        As Amitabh seems to know, vague statistical data leads to erroneous conclusions. Both India Today and Amitabh himself seem to be caught in that trap.

  8. deshmukh

    If this was a western country, these stats would have been shameful to both parties. Becoz most indians hate each other we compare whose wound is bigger.

  9. Vishesh

    Why injuries are calculated as casualties? Calculate only deaths and generally grievous injuries are proportional to deaths. Injuries number can be easily manipulated and vaguely defined. Casualties literal meaning is deaths. Karnataka 873 casualties is outright wrong. However gujarat riots had highest deaths in recent times.

    1. Type “casualties” into Google and you will see the term includes deaths and injuries. I prefer to use all the data available which is why I picked casualties over only deaths. You may feel that the data for Karnataka is wrong but I can’t pick and choose unless there is a compelling reason to do so (as there was in the case of Assam, which I filled out using data from the same source – the Ministry of Home Affairs).

      1. Vishesh

        Technicalities dont matter. Whatever name you call it, only deaths matter, call it casualty or fatality. Injuries number is mostly fake. Only big fatalities were sikh riots, gujarat riots and recent assam and muzafarnagar riots. With recent advancement in tech and modernisation of police and growth of indian govt finances should be taken into account when there is more than 10 year gap. But the data you posted is best be called as misleading.

  10. Anuj Gupta

    Can you tell me why these riots were not identified by even a single news channel, the channels who only seeking the news against modi. Why these can’t be recognise by a single reporter in gujrat. Was every one lips are joint. They can’t speak.

    1. The data relate to communal violence, if which riots are a subset. The numbers for UP, for instance, include the Muzaffarnagar riots as well as other instances of communal violence.

      Furthermore, a casual Google search reveals that there were riots in 2004 in Veraval and 2006 in Vadodara, both covered by the media. Hence the claim that Gujarat has been “riot free” since 2002 is false.

  11. Pingback: BJP-ruled states still more communally violent | chunauti

  12. Pingback: Riots in Gujarat post 2002 and communal riots in BJP ruled states | Clearing the misconception

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