Targeted riots yield political gains

“The Political Logic of Ethnic Violence: The Anti-Muslim Pogrom in Gujarat, 2002”

This is the title of a paper by Raheel Dhattiwala and Michael Biggs where they take a look at the Gujarat riots of 2002. The abstract (emphasis mine):

Ethnic violence in Gujarat in 2002 killed at least a thousand Muslims. Compiling data from the Times of India, we investigate variation across 216 towns and rural areas. Analysis reveals the political logic of violence. Killing was less likely where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was weakest, but was even less likely where the BJP was strong; it was most likely where the party faced the greatest electoral competition. Underemployment and Muslim in-migration also increased violence. The political logic is confirmed by analysis of the subsequent election: the BJP’s vote increased most in districts with the worst violence. Police chiefs in districts where violence was severe were more likely to be promoted.

via The Hindu

Clearly, a very important paper in today’s context in India. Would be great to see this initiate a serious debate. The calculated riots in Muzzafarnagar and the violence in Assam are clear evidence that those provoking riots are not doing this out of blind passion – it is deliberate political strategy at work. This is not about Modi alone, or about his complicity in the Gujarat riots, but also about the rank and file of the party and its so-called non-political ideologues and their role in plotting and executing the riots of 2002.

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