IN 2020, India witnessed 10 communal riots claiming 59 lives as compared to 25 communal riots in 2019 claiming 8 lives according to the monitoring of centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS). There might be more than 10 riots but, here, the focus is on the riots reported in 5 newspapers monitored by CSSS. In fact, there are new patterns emerging in communal riots which are insightful in understanding the decline in the number of communal riots.
In 2020, the major riots that took place in north-east Delhi in February and Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh are the telling signs of the times we live in. The patterns in these riots point towards the overreach of the authoritarian State in targeting the Muslim community. Earlier, the institutionalised riot system (IRS) was carefully constructed where riots were engineered and orchestrated at available trigger points.
There was comprehensive planning and extensive political mobilisation to trigger a riot. However, there was still some fear of prosecution and investigation into the communal riots, however weak and biased against religious minorities. But the State was not as blatantly and officially involved as witnessed today. The State no more pretends to be impartial.