09/26/2013, 00.00
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Indian democracy at risk from Hindu-Muslim violence

by Nirmala Carvalho
India's central government releases figures concerning communal violence between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority in the first nine months of the year. About 479 violent incidents occurred over this period with 107 dead and 1,697 injured. For Christian leader, "politicians should not take advantage of people's religious identity."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In 2013, 479 violent communal incidents occurred in India involving the Hindu and Muslim communities. In total, 107 people lost their lives (66 Muslims and 41 Hindus) and 1,697 were injured (794 Hindus and 703 Muslims), this according to figures released by the central government, which looked at the incidence of sectarian violence since the start of the year until 15 September.

In view of these figures, politicians "must stop using people's communal identity because it is likely to polarise society along confessional lines," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC),

According to the study, Uttar Pradesh had 62 dead (42 Muslim and 20 Hindus), the highest in the country, with 219 Muslims and 134 Hindus wounded. These occurred during 93 violent communal incidents and 102 episodes of "tension".  

Maharashtra comes next with 100 registered violent incidents, followed by Gujarat with 54. In  Bihar, there were 40 violent incidents and 25 episodes of tension.

In each state, a dozen of people died and hundreds were wounded from both communities.

"Democracy in India," Sajan George told AsiaNews, "is threatened by communal politics, which could undermine the unity and integrity of the country. The GCIC and many analysts fear that the next general election [in 2014] will be the bloodiest in religious terms. It is significant that most of the states listed in the paper are (or were) ruled the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). "

The BJP is an ultra-nationalist Hindu party that is closely associated with Hindu fundamentalist movements like the Sangh Parivar, which has been responsible for acts of violence against minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims.

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