ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Old Delhi in Grip of Communal Frenzy

Old Delhi in Grip of Communal Frenzy Asghar Ali Engineer IN big cities, old walled areas are more usually riot-prone for a variety of reasons. It is true of Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Baroda and several other places. Firstly, these areas are very thickly populated with a maze of narrow winding lanes and bye- lanes. For mischief-makers it becomes easier to operate in these narrow lanes. Secondly, low income group people with a high level of unemployment and a low level of education and self-employed petty traders with closely knit communal relations live in these areas. Mostly there are separate communal enclaves, with less scope for a wide range of intercommunal relationships. (However, recent experience shows that now even areas with a much wider scope for intercommunal relationship are becoming riot- prone in a number of places.) These conditions are comparatively more congenial for breeding communal violence. Thirdly, such highly populated areas with narrow lanes and bye-lanes prove securer havens for antisocial elements to operate in. Crime is an integral part of urbanisation in capitalist societies and crime tends to become an integral part of politics, both secular and communal, specially the latter as it also helps legitimise crime as well as criminals. All this explains to some extent why the walled parts of certain cities-easily become riot- prone, given certain other conditions.

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