Communal Violence


To prepare for INTERNAL SECURITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Communal Violence. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-III.). Communal Violence terms are important from Economy perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

Communal violence is a form of violence that is perpetrated across ethnic or communal lines, the violent parties feel solidarity for their respective groups, and victims are chosen based upon group membership. The term includes conflicts, riots and other forms of violence between communities of different religious faith or ethnic origins.


Communalism can be defined as allegiance to one’s own ethnic or religious group than to the wider society.


As the second ARC observed communalism implies blind allegiance to one’s own communal group –Religious, Ethnic, or linguistic rather than society as large or nation as a whole. In its extreme form, it manifests in the form of hatred and hostility.


  • India is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural pluralist society. This is inherently having tension towards each other.
  • Caste based politics and vote bank politics
  • Religious animosity
  • Criminalisation of politics
  • Increasing caste awareness and caste tensions
  • Poverty and unemployment
  • Failure on administrative fronts or governance deficit
  • Inequitable and non-inclusive growth trajectory
  • Widening gap between haves and haves not.




Preamble Preamble of the Indian Constitution declares it as a secular state and secures the liberty of thought expression, belief faith, and worship.
Article 25 “All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.”
Article 26 Says that all denominations can manage their own affairs in matters of religion.
Article 29 Mandates that no discrimination would be done on the ground of religion, race, caste, language, or any of them.
Article 30 Mandates that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Fundamental duty – Art 51A · Promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

· To value and preserve the rich heritage of the country’s composite culture;


  • Various provisions of Indian penal code which deals with the issues of communalism in the country, like section 153A, 153B
  • Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill, 2005 must be enacted soon.
  • Manipur government came up first with its Law against lynching in 2018.


Factors Responsible For Communal Violence:
  • Historical factors à British Rule and Rule of rulers like Aurangzeb had discouraged the harmonious association and peaceful co-existence. Two nation theory and partition of the country on the basis of religion made people more conscious about religion. British policy of divide and rule accompanied by communal electorate by GoI act 1909, 1919, 1935.
  • Socio-economic Factors à Society is backward and lack of opportunity and a feeling of deprivation has sown the seed of communalism.
  • Educational Factors à Lack of modern education so most Indians are reluctant to adopt ideas like liberalism and progressive values.
  • Conflicting and incompatible religious ideologies
  • Hostility and apathy against other community
  • Psychological Factors à Years-long grudges and feelings of resentment amongst the communities. This leads to the Fear of psychosis among the minority.
  • Cultural Factors à Feeling under the members of the Muslim and Hindu communities that they are a distinct entity with their own cultural pattern, thought process, and personnel laws.
  • Identity crisis à There is a general feeling that orthodox Hindus and Muslims have a problem with the secular character of the Indian state. Instead few orthodox wanted India to be a Hindu nation.
  • Political factors à Intermixing of religion and the politics i.e. religion based vote bank politics. Poor criminal justice system and large scale corruption leading to nexus between police, politician and criminal which results into organised crime.
  • Inciting speech by the political leader to garner the support of one religious group.
  • Financial and ideological support for orthodox and divisive elements of society.
  • Demographic factors à In a certain part of the Country Demographic changes created an opportunity for manipulation of communal sentiments i.e. in Assam, West Bengal, and the Kashmir
  • International influences à Pan-Islamic movements have also been mobilizing ant-India Jihad sentiments in the country.
  • The ISI factor à communal sentiments in the country is also promoted by these radical groups which try to polarise the country on the basis of religious fundamentals.
  • Social media factors: The presence of orthodox groups over social media platforms spread rumors, disinformation, hate speech, and fanning violence.
  • Lack of proper action: Punishment mechanism is not up to the mark which provides more opportunity for the trouble creator.


  • Gender offences à Members of one religious community alleged for gender violence against the women of other community offences like rape sexual harassment and other issues like love jihad were also disturbing social fabric.
  • Religious festival à During the celebration of the festival communal tension and disputes arise between the two communities like the celebration of Holi or Muharram.
  • Land disputes à Among the various religious groups in the country over the ownership of land.
  • Governance issues à Over the years various commissions had found following shortcoming:
    • The ineffective conflict resolution mechanism.
    • Timely action and accountability of an officer are missing.
    • Missing intelligence about the situation.
    • Missing standard operating procedure (SOP) in case of communal violence.
    • Lack of personnel to deal with communal tension or communal violence missing training of expertise in communal matters.
  • Administrative issues à The slow reaction of police and administration after initial symptoms of communal violence. Sometimes police and administration act in partisan manner. Failure of leadership and link of administration with the general public is also weak.
  • Post-riot Management deficiencies à
    • Issues with rehabilitation which often neglected breeding resentments and anger.
    • Missing accountability of the official who is involved in the process of rehabilitation.


Circulation of fake news over social media platforms disturbs social peace and also creates hostility of a community towards the organs of government. Fake videos and its circulation sometimes cause the mob lynching and violence.


Mob lynching:
  • Mob lynching is a form of violence in which a mob under the pretext of administering justice without trial, executes a presumed offender, by the means of torture, and sometimes it results in the death. The term lynch, the law refers to a self-constituted court that imposes sentence on a person without due process of law. Mob lynching is crime against humanity and constitutional values.
  • The Manipur government came up first with its Law against lynching in 2018.
  • The Manipur Law is in sync with the Supreme Court guidelines.


Cow-Vigilantism – Vigilante groups who disguise themselves as cow protectors/ gau-rakshak had created an environment of and led to violence in the various parts of the country.


These measures can be classified under Five broad category:
  • Preventive measures
  • Measures when an outbreak of violence is anticipated
  • Measures during the violence
  • Technology measures during the violence and after the violence
  • Post violence measures


Preventive measures :

Citizen oriented measures:

  • Feeling the mistrust among the different religious groups:
    • The feeling of nationalism needs to inculcate in the minds of people by making them aware of how all religious groups fought together to make this country free.
  • Peace committee:
    • There shall be a peace committee in every area. This should be secular in nature and its meeting should take place regularly. The district administration should engage actively with the peace committee.
  • Community policing:
    • Community policing is a kind of policing in which police and citizens act as a partner in ensuring peace in the area.
    • Community policing is more associated with ground activity so they provide better input and help during the communal tension. some of the examples are Friends of police and Nenu-Saitham program.
  • Imparting liberal values:
    • The education system should impart liberal values to the students so that tolerance and general liberal values on important occasions should be imparted in society, boosting unity.


Administrative measures:

  • Planning and profiling of the areas:
    • Demographic profile of the area and marking the area on the basis of the historical record of disputes, clashes, and riots, etc
  • A crisis management plan if the conflict:
    • A fixed set of instructions which can be followed to tackle the conflict.
    • A special officer can be appointed in every district of the country.
  • Intelligence and police:
    • Intelligence mechanisms should be sound enough to pretend the communal violence before they happen every district can have these intelligence units which collect the data related to the communal violence and try to map these events to prevent the future violence.
    • Sensitize police towards feelings of minorities – Generally, the minority communities feel that police is biased so, trust-building is need of the hour
    • Special training to the police force which is working in an area which is sensitive to communal violence.


Manpower shortage issue in the police à In India, the number of policemen per lakh of people is only 130 and the recommendation of the United Nation is 220 per lakh.


Management of religious affairs:

  • Code of conduct for the religious festival:
    • Generally, communal violence arises in-country during the celebration of these religious festivals, so special requirements should be made during the celebration of festivals.
  • Protecting the places of worship:
    • No harm to the places of worship during communal violence should be ensured. The premises should be provided with special security arrangements.
    • The unauthorized construction on the land of worship should be dealt with strictly legal provisions.
    • Also, the administration and government should ensure that these religious places are not misused by the nefarious element of society.
Measures when an outbreak of violence is anticipated:
  • Preventive arrest under the CrPc sections of 151 along with the deployment of central forces which has a specialty in the outbreak of Riots.
  • The imposition of section 144 of the Indian penal code.
  • Deployment of police in other sensitive areas of the state.


Measures during the violence:
  • The use of force in order to suppress the violence and situation should be brought under control.
  • Guidelines and standard operating procedure should be brought in quick enforcement so that damage could be minimized
  • Effective utilization of central forces and calling them in time by the state authority.
  • Putting a standby team in order when the situation is worse.
  • Media depicting the live death of people should be banned immediately.
  • The officer deployed should have knowledge of local prospects.


Technology measures during the violence and after the violence:
  • Proper checks and balances on social media à Methods should be developed through which the hate speech and Rumours propagation can be stopped and during the Riot guidelines for social media giants like WhatsApp and Facebook should be issued.
  • Use social media to create a positive environment in the society and circulate the information which creates an environment for peace.


Post violence measures

Fast track court:

    • For providing quick justice to the victims and punishment to the guilty persons so, that an example can be set that if anyone evokes the communal violence then punishment is assured.


Enforcement action and Monitoring:

    • All the guidelines must be enforced in order to establish long-lasting peace. Constitution of the special investigation team for ensuring the fair and impartial investigation.
    • Monitoring is also very important, so that these kinds of events can be stopped in the future.


Relief and Rehabilitation:

    • Relief and Rehabilitation work should be unbiased and do not discriminate between the religious groups.
    • The benefit of schemes and other rehabilitation measures should reach to the victims.
    • Interim relief may be provided immediately to the victims and essential goods and services should be provided timely to the individual of affected areas.


Also the recommendation of 2nd ARC that relief and rehabilitation of victims of communal violence under the Disaster Management act of 2005, communal violence can also be viewed as a disaster.




Strong legal action along with the policy of zero tolerance towards the violence will bring down the communal hatred and impartial administration and police will assure the minority that they are safe. This will ensure long-lasting peace and development in the country.



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