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

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Communal Riots: Review of 2001

Malegaon and Kanpur witnessed the most serious communal disturbances in 2001, which also saw several other riots as in previous years. The average riot in the post-Babri masjid demolition period is not as horrifying as previous ones; however, this provides little comfort. The West Bengal government, which has succeeded in maintaining communal peace, should become a role model for other states so that we achieve the goal of total amity.

The year 2001, like previous years, witnessed several communal riots throughout India, of which some were minor and some major. A riot broke out in Kolhapur on December 31, 2000 and continued in January 2001. A territorial army jawan, Abhijit Suryawanshi, was killed in Jammu and Kashmir in a suicide bomb explosion. He hailed from Kolhapur. When his body was flown to Kolhapur, the Shiv Sena gave a call for bandh but some people of a minority community did not close their shops, which were then stoned by a 10,000 strong crowd. The crowd was also protesting against the ‘pro-Muslim’ statement given by the minister of state for textiles, Prakash Awde, in Ichalkaranji a day earlier.

The situation became tense in Kolhapur and the Shiv Sena’s call for bandh aggravated it. The administration, however, persuaded the Sena to withdraw its call for bandh but many Shiv sainiks did not like it and indulged in heavy stone-throwing. Sudden burst of stone-pelting sent a wave of panic across the main market, and shops and business establishments downed their shutters. However, though there was tension and stone-pelting there was fortunately no loss of life.

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