Communal riots doubled in COVID year, reveals NCRB data

NCRB data showed that cases of communal riots shot up from 438 cases in 2019 to 857 cases in 2020. Caste-related riots too spiked

The national capital Delhi registered 520 cases of communal riots in the year 2020, interestingly, Uttar Pradesh did not report even a single case. PTI pic of communal clashes in north-east Delhi last year

In a year when the country went into a nationwide lockdown, there has been a significant rise in communal riots in India, revealed official data. The number has in fact doubled in 2020 as compared to 2019, showed the latest figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Wednesday (September 15).

Incidentally, the overall number of crimes too also shot up, but the pattern of these crimes has changed in the year of the lockdown.

According to the NCRB data, overall criminal cases increased by about 28 per cent in 2020 when compared to pandemic-free year of 2019. The number of cases reported in 2019 was 51.56 lakh and that number rose to 66.01 lakh in 2020.

What is, however, alarming is that the number of communal riots has doubled. From 438 cases in 2019, the number went up to 857 cases. Further, caste-related riots too spiked. The country had reported 492 such riots in 2019, but this figure climbed to 736 riots in the following year.


But, the national capital Delhi registered 520 cases of communal riots in the year 2020. Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh did not report even a single case of communal riot in 2020!

Also read:Traditional crimes drop in 2020, disobedience cases shoot up: NCRB

Agrarian riots or agriculture-related riots too saw a sharp increase of about 38 per cent during the same period. Punjab and Haryana, which had been the epicenter of the farmers’ protests for the last year, have reported only 34 such cases with Punjab having no agrarian riot case at all. Bihar with 1,286 cases recorded the highest number of agrarian riots followed by Maharashtra with 279 cases and Karnataka with 148 cases.

The riots reported under Andolan or Morcha category too soared, the number jumped from 1,442 to 1,905 cases. Almost 95 per cent of these cases were from the southern state of Kerala, showed the data.

Lockdown saw a decline in crimes, a spike in disobedience

The report said that due to the lockdown, the type of crimes changed during 2020. As a result of the lockdown, the cases of crimes against women, children, and senior citizens declined. Also, cases of burglary, robbery, theft, and dacoity witnessed a sharp decline during the time of lockdown.

However, the cases of disobedience-related crimes shot up during the lockdown. These cases had increased by twenty times as compared to 2019. A total of 29,469 such cases were reported in 2019 while in 2020 it was 6.12 lakh cases, revealed the data.

Therefore, cases under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a few other sections under IPC, as well as State Acts, went up. Section 188 of IPC is charged for disobedience of orders by public servants. It means that those who broke the local and state lockdown rules were charged with this particular section and similar ones.

Crimes against women saw a decline of about 8.3 per cent in 2020, as compared to 2019. A total of 4.05 lakh cases were registered under this head in 2019, while it dropped to 3.71 lakh cases in 2020, showed the data.