NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh led the nationwide increase in communal violence in 2017, according to statistics placed by the Union Home Ministry in parliament on Wednesday. The figures indicate that incidents of communal violence have gone up to 822 and killed 111 people last year, the highest in four years.
According to the centre's statistics, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand accounted for the biggest chunk of the 15 per cent increase in communal incidents in 2017 over the previous year.
The spike in violence in these states is a sharp contrast to reports from states such as Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh that appear to have succeeded in keeping the situation under check.
Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Lok Sabha that the communal violence was "reported to be attributed to religious factors, land and property disputes, gender related offences, social media related issues and other miscellaneous factors."
Uttar Pradesh also continues to top the list of states with maximum communal violence incidents, and deaths. 44 people were killed and 540 injured in UP in 2017. This compares poorly with 29 deaths and injuries to 490 people in 2016, and 22 deaths and 410 injuries the previous year.
The statistics contradict Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had a few months back claimed that not a single riot had taken place in the state after he came to power.
"When we came to power, hooliganism was at its peak and there was not a day when riots did not take place...the governments at the helm used to call over rioters and honour them...but in these eight months not a single riot has taken place," Yogi Adityanath said in November last year during campaigning for the local body elections.
An analysis of Home Ministry statistics tabled in parliament indicates that the only time communal violence figures had been higher over the last seven years was in 2013 when riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar region of Uttar Pradesh that left over 60 dead.