New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday said in the Lok Sabha that there were as many as 3,399 cases of communal or religious rioting in the country in the five year period from 2016 to 2020. Overall, it said there were over 2.76 lakh cases of rioting during this period.
The information on the scale of rioting witnessed in the country was provided by Union minister of state Nityanand Rai in response to a question raised by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and BJP MP Chandra Prakash Joshi.
The two MPs asked whether the government has maintained a record of the riots and lynchings that have taken place in the country in recent years; and the details of such incidents in Rajasthan as also the whole of India.
In his written reply, Rai said “in the ‘Crime in India’ report, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) publishes crime data from all the States/Union Territories under various crime heads which are defined under the Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws.” However, the minister added that “no separate data for mob lynching is maintained by NCRB.”
As for the details of cases of rioting and those that can be classified as “communal/religious” in nature, the minister provided year-wise details from 2016 to 2020.
According to the report, across India, there were 61,964 cases of rioting in 2016 of which 869 were religious or communal. In 2017, there were 58,880 cases in all, of which 723 were communal or religious; in 2018 the numbers were 57,828 and 512 respectively; in 2019 they were 45,985 and 438; and in 2020 there were 51,606 cases of rioting of which 857 were religious or communal.
The data revealed that there were a total of 276,273 cases of rioting during these five years of which 3,399 were of communal or religious nature.
Responding to another query by the MPs, the minister replied that “it is the intention of the Government to comprehensively review the existing criminal laws and make them relevant to the contemporary law and order situation as well as to provide speedy justice to the vulnerable sections of the society and create a legal structure which is citizen-centric.”
He said the Department–related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in its June 2010 report, had recommended a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.
“Earlier the Parliamentary Standing Committee in its 111th and 128th Reports had also stressed upon the need to reform and rationalize the criminal law of the country by introducing a comprehensive legislation in Parliament rather than bringing about piece-meal amendments in respective Acts. The Government is committed to make comprehensive amendments to criminal laws in consultation with all the stakeholders,” he added.