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Timeline of major communal riots in India

Running battles between Hindu and Muslim groups in Delhi since Sunday have left 22 people dead

Riyaz Khaliq   | 26.02.2020
Timeline of major communal riots in India

ANKARA

India, home to nearly 200 million Muslims, has witnessed several communal riots after its independence from the British empire.

Running battles between Hindu and Muslim groups which started Feb. 24 in the Indian capital Delhi have claimed 22 lives so far and injured over 150.

The violence spiked as U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in India on Monday on a two-day maiden visit.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called the situation “alarming” saying the army should step in to take control.

The clashes first started between protesters for and against a controversial citizenship law in the country, home to around 1.3 billion people. But they have since taken communal overtones.

The new law guarantees citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities escaping persecution in three neighboring countries -- Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Activists and opposition politicians have described the legislation as divisive, discriminatory and against Muslims as well as the country's secular constitution.

This is a timeline of the major communal riots in the South Asian nation:  

1983: Nellie massacre

More than 2,000 Muslims, who were labeled as foreigners, were killed in the northeastern Assam state. This blood-curling violence went on for six hours on Feb. 18. 

1984: Anti-Sikh riots

For five days, starting Oct. 31, reports claim 2,800 to 8,000 Sikhs were killed across India. The violence, however, was centered in Delhi.

A series of anti-Sikh pogroms were launched after then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards. 

1992-1993: Babri Masjid demolition / Bombay riots

Hindu mobs attacked and destroyed the historical Babri Mosque in Ayodhya city of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The mosque was built by 16th-century Mughal Emperor Babur.

Following this incident, wide-scale communal riots took place in Mumbai, India’s glitzy commercial capital.

The riots began on Dec. 6 and raged on for a month. Some 900 people were killed and 2,000 injured. 

2002: Gujarat riots

Nearly 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the western state of Gujarat on Feb. 28.

Another 2,500 were injured as Hindu mobs went on a rape, loot and kill rampage.

Some 20,000 Muslim homes and businesses and 360 places of worship were destroyed. Roughly, 150,000 people were displaced.

The two-month violence took place when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of the state.

The riots started after Muslims were blamed for allegedly burning a train which left 59 Hindu people dead.

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