BENGALURU: The latest crime data for the country shows that Karnataka reported the second highest number of communal and political riots. But this isn’t to say that the atmosphere in the state has been polarised. In fact, the numbers can be attributed to the state’s reporting mechanism.
The National Crime Records Bureau’s data for 2015 shows that Haryana topped the list with 201 cases of communal riots in 2015. Karnataka trailed with 163 cases. Karnataka also reported the second highest number of political riots at 166 cases, far behind Kerala that reported 1,031 cases.
R S Deshpande, former director of Institute of Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, said, “As a political observer I don’t see why there should be a reason for spurt in communal riots in the state. There is no reason why the political atmosphere needs to be polarised. It may be because of the state’s strong reporting system. I can say that in the recent past we have seen a few more riots than before. This is in retraction to the national political scene.”
Deshpande added, “Even small skirmishes are being reported with caste and community colour. There has been a change in the definition of communal riots. Also, bear in mind that when an incident gets reported as a communal riot there is greater leverage for news. Even if a lingayat and a vokkaliga fight for financial reasons, their community will be drawn into it.”
Bengaluru also has the dubious distinction of reporting the second highest number of riots at 373 cases, after Mumbai (396). In arson cases, Bengaluru stands third with 99 reported cases, following Delhi with 182.
The city recorded the maximum number of cases of crimes against Dalits (SCs) — 127 cases.
Minister for Social Welfare H Anjaneya, a Dalit, said that the value of land given to Scheduled Castes through land committees between 1972 and 75 has increased over the years. Crimes against SCs have increased in a bid to reclaim these government grants. “These are landless people. They own one to three acres of land. There are atrocities against them to reclaim it from them as the land value has increased manifold of late,” he said.