Lucknow: Yogi Adityanath, who took charge as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on March 19, 2017, will finish two years in office in March 2019.
To mark this, Adityanath tweeted that no riots have taken place in Uttar Pradesh during his tenure.
मार्च में मेरे शासनकाल के दो वर्ष पूरे होंगे। मेरे अब तक के शासन में, कोई दंगा नहीं हुआ है।
— Chowkidar Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) January 3, 2019
He said in his tweet: “In March I will have finished two years in office. In my tenure so far, there have been no riots.” As of the writing of this report, the tweet had 5,000 retweets and around 26,000 likes.
How true is this claim? It’s not.
Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Union minister of state for home affairs, told the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2018 that, in comparison with 2014, the number of incidents of communal violence was 32% higher in 2017. Forty-four people died in such incidents. In comparison, 22 people died in incidents of communal violence in 2015.
Ahir said that there were a total of 195 incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, in which 44 people died and 542 people were injured.
In 2014, there had been 133 incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, a look at communal violence across the nation reveals that the highest number of incidents of such nature took place in UP.
During Adityanath’s tenure, towns like Shabbirpur, Bulandshahr, Saharanpur and Kasganj, among others, witnessed incidents of communal violence.
There were 822 incidents of communal violence in India in 2017, of which 195 were in UP. This means that, in 2017, 23% of all incidents of communal violence in India took place in Adityanath’s state.
There has been a 21.65% increase in the number of incidents of communal violence between 2014 and 2017. Government data reveals that these sort of incidents continue unabated and that Uttar Pradesh, in comparison with other states, has seen the most dramatic rise in the number of incidents.
The state with the second-highest number of incidents of communal violence is Karnataka, which saw 100 such incidents in 2017, in which nine people lost their lives and 229 were injured. In 2017, 111 people lost their lives in incidents of communal violence in all of India, of which 44 deaths took place in Uttar Pradesh. Law and order is a state subject, and so the responsibility to maintain law and order lies with state governments.
Ahir said in a written response, “It is the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order, peace and communal harmony. There are nonetheless various ways in which the Central government supplements the state government’s efforts to do the same.”
For that purpose, intelligence information is shared from time to time, alerts are communicated and advice is given in sensitive and important cases.
In 2008, the Central government had issued a set of guidelines that dealt with the issue of communal harmony. They had been prepared to assuage tensions arising from communal violence. The guidelines instruct states to be vigilant and take measures to prevent incidents of communal violence.
Ahir said, “These guidelines and other suggestions are resent to states regularly, especially around the time of religious festivals.”
Data presented by the Modi government in parliament suggests that incidents of communal violence were high even under previous governments. In 2013, when the Samajwadi Party was in power in UP, the state witnessed 247 incidents of communal violence, in which 77 people died and 360 were injured.
An RTI application has revealed, in addition, that the highest number of incidents of communal violence in India – 943 – took place in 2008. In that year, 167 people died in such incidents and 2,354 were injured. 2009 witnessed the second-highest number of incidents, 849, in which 125 people lost their lives and 2,461 were injured.