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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gujarat 2002 riots : an interpretive analysis Yeolekar, Mugdha

Abstract

Considering the communal riots in 1969,1985, 1992 and recently in 2002, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims are not new phenomena in Gujarat. Yet the active participation of people from all sections of the society, the scale and the brutality of violence and the spread of violence in new areas (that used to be peaceful earlier) make Gujarat 2002 a unique phenomenon. Why did riots occur in Gujarat? Why are the religious identities so hardened and politicized in Gujarat? This thesis develops an eclectic approach towards understanding communal riots by integrating the approaches of Asagar Ali Engineer, Paul Brass and Ashutosh Varshney. The central argument of this thesis is that the existence of an "institutionalized riot system"- implying the support of the State- as Brass clams, is an essential condition for the occurrence of communal violence. Further, riots are endemic where the civil society organizations are inactive in controlling the riots as well as work in tandem with the State. Taking Gujarat 2002 riots as a case study, this thesis aims at developing a universal eclectic approach towards understanding communal violence.

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