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

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Understanding Communal Riots in Maharashtra

Understanding Communal Riots in Maharashtra Gopal Guru THE outbreak of communal riots in Maharashtra following the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6 stands out for three important reasons. First, after the demolition of the Masjid there was a rising tide of Muslim protest all over the stale of course with varying degree of intensity and magnitude; second, it saw the cross-sectional communalisation of the masses to the extent that some began to see in this communalisation the menace of 'Saffron Fascism', and finally, the recent developments in the state also saw the liberal and progressive forces either confused or crestfallen during the first phase of the riots. Three sets of questions arise. First, what were the factors that led the Muslims to protest? Who participated in the protest? What was the social background of the Muslim protesters? Where was the protest registered and in what form? Second, in view of the claim made by the Hindu communal forces that ail cross-sections, particularly the dalits of Maharashtra joined them against the Muslims for furthering the Hindu cause it is necessary to examine as to why these Hindutvawadi forces are trying to create an anti-Muslim image of the dalits? How are they doing this? To what extent have these Hindu communal forces succeeded in their plan to fan hostilities between the dalits and the Muslims? In the third set of question an attempt needs to be made to highlight as to how the different social forces respond to the recent communal situation in Maharashtra? What implications this communal situation had on the reorganisation and realignment of forces? These are certain issues that are looked inio in the following sections of this report (The Times of India (TOI), December 18,

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