Bombay riots

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1992-93 Bombay Riots
Date6 December 1992 – 26 January 1993
Caused byDemolition of Babri Mosque
Death(s)900 (estimate)

The Bombay riots usually refers to the riots in Mumbai, in December 1992 and January 1993, in which an estimated 900 people died.[1][2] The riots were mainly due to escalations of hostilities after large scale protests by Muslims in reaction to the 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition by Hindu Karsevaks in Ayodhya.[3]

The violence was widely reported as having been orchestrated by the Shiv Sena, a Hindu-nationalist political party in Maharashtra.[4] A high-ranking member of the special branch later stated that the police were fully aware of the Shiv Sena's capabilities to commit acts of violence, and that they had incited hate against the minority communities.[5] Historian Barbara Metcalf has stated that the riots were anti-Muslim pogrom.[6]

The riots were followed by the retaliatory 12 March 1993 Bombay Bombings.[7]

Background-Communalism in India[edit]

The Bombay riots can be considered a result of larger communal tensions throughout India. The British colonial policy of Divide and Rule allegedly included administrative and political activities such as communalized census taking, and the Morley Minto reforms, that relied on communal segregation, and in particular Hindu-Muslim divisions.[8] Post-Independence, the after-effects of the Partition of India along communal lines, the resurgence of ‘Hindu Muslim Economic competition’, the growth of right-wing communalist movements such as the RSS,[9] and political strategies of 'appeasement' towards communal political influences by secular political authorities (see Shah Bano case), reinforced communalist ideologies in the country.[9] The Babri Mosque demolition on 6 December 1992, an act of communal violence by Hindu extremist, is considered to be the immediate cause of the riots.

Overview of the Riot[edit]

As determined by the government's Srikrishna commission; the riots started as a result of communal tension prevailing in the city after the Babri Mosque demolition on 6 December 1992. The Commission identified two phases to the riots. The first was mainly a Muslim instigation as a result of the Babri Masjid demolition in the week immediately succeeding 7 December 1992 led by political leaders representing Hindutva in the city of Ayodhya. The second phase was a Hindu backlash occurring as a result of the killings of Hindu Mathadi Kamgar (workers) by Muslim fanatics in Dongri (an area of South Bombay), stabbing of Hindus in Muslim majority areas and burning of six Hindus, including a disabled girl in Radhabai Chawl. This phase occurred in January 1993, with most incidents reported between 6 and 20 January.

The Report asserted that the communal passions of the Hindus were aroused to fever pitch by the inciting writings in print media, particularly Saamna and Navaakal which gave exaggerated accounts of the Mathadi murders and the Radhabai Chawl incident. From 8 January 1993, many riots occurred between Hindus led by the Shiv Sena and Muslims potentially funded by the Bombay underworld at that time. An estimated 575 Muslims and 275 Hindus were killed at the end of the riot. The communal violence and rioting triggered off by the burning at Dongri and Radhabhai Chawl, and the following retaliatory violence by Shiv Sena was hijacked by local criminal elements who potential opportunity to make quick gains. By the time the right wing Hindu organization Shiv Sena realised that enough had been done by way of "retaliation", the violence and rioting was beyond the control of its leaders who had to issue an appeal to put an end to it.[3]

The events as listed by the Srikrishna Commission[edit]

6 December 1992[edit]

News of the demolition of Babri Masjid spread by 14:30 hours on 6 December 1992. Muslims angered by this act felt that Islam was in imminent danger since proponents of the Hindu nation had been allowed to destroy, under the very nose of the police forces, the Babri Masjid, despite assurances and undertakings by the Uttar Pradesh state Government and the Government of India that no harm would be permitted to be caused to the Babri Masjid during kar seva at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. The extensive media coverage, particularly on television, of footage of file pictures of kar sevaks dancing on the dome of the Masjid, as well as the latest video shots showing actual demolition of the Babri Masjid, caused a sense of deep resentment. The demolition of the Babri Masjid provided enough fuel to excite, ignite and exploit the sentimentalities of the Indian Muslims. Muslims were proselytised by these exploitative elements that the Establishment and the Government had an active hand in the destruction, since it did not do anything to prevent the same.

Rumours abounded that alleged members of certain Hindutva parties were seen to be celebrating the demolition of Babri structure. Muslims protested violently on the streets. A large number of Muslims congregated near Minara Masjid in Pydhonie jurisdiction at about 23:20 hours on 6 December 1992 and came out protesting frenziedly in Bombay located in the state of Maharashtra. The first targets of the rioting mob became the municipal vans and the constabulary, both visible signs of the government.

Activists of Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena jumped into the fray, and escalated communal sentiments, as seen from their act of stopping the vehicles on roads in the jurisdiction of V.P. Road Police Station.

In Nirmal Nagar jurisdiction, a Ganesh idol in the Ganesh Mandir on Anant Kanekar Marg was found moved out from its place of installation though the lock on the grill surrounding the sanctum sanctorum was found intact. This was noticed at about 23:45 hours. Though at the time the incident happened there were no immediate clues as to the identity of the miscreants, it was widely rumoured that Muslim fanatics were behind it.

In the jurisdiction of Deonar, there was a sharp counter–reaction by Muslims who stoned the house of a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader. Tensions escalated.[citation needed]

7th - 12th December 1992[edit]

Two constables in Deonar jurisdiction were killed with choppers and swords by the rampaging Muslims[neutrality is disputed]. While one lay on the ground bleeding to death, the body of another was dragged and thrown into the garbage heap from where it was recovered seven days later. One constable was done to death in Byculla jurisdiction. Several police officers and policemen who bravely attempted to stem the tide sustained injuries in mob action.

Jogeshwari area, which has been the hotbed of frequent communal riots saw serious riots at the junction of Pascal Colony and Shankar Wadi. A police officer on duty received a bullet injury in his head and died subsequently, though it cannot be said with certitude that it was a case of private firing. The police recovered large number of iron rods, sickles, choppers, knives and soda water bottles from different jurisdictions indicating that there was intention and preparations to carry on the communal riots.

A violent Muslim mob ransacked a Police chowky at Maulana Shaukat Ali Road and physically assaulted one Police constable, Pandit Malhari Ahire. Ahire was attacked with swords and choppers and suffered grievous injuries. At about the same time a huge Muslim mob of about 4,000–5,000 collected on Maulana Shaukat Ali Road and in the lanes and by–lanes of the area. The mob went on damaging and destroying the vehicles and public property and indulged in indiscriminate stone throwing. Ahire's life was saved by prompt action by Senior Police Inspector Pawar along with other officers who carried on firing to restore peace.[citation needed]

On 8 December 1992 communal rioting and communal violence spread to 33 jurisdictions, the number of clashes of rioting mobs with police as well as rioting mobs inter se increased alarmingly. Attacks on places of worship also continued. Shiv Sena systematically attacked Muslim men, women and children during that time.[10]

The police had to resort to firing in 43 cases resulting in the death of 11 Hindus, 31 Muslims and three others. There were several cases of mob violence, stabbing and arson. One temple in Dharavi, one in Deonar, one in Park Site and one in Saki Naka were attacked. Simultaneously, two mosques in Dharavi, one madrasa in Mahim and Bhoiwada each and one dargah in Dadar were also attacked.

Though the police found their resources stretched, they were unwilling to take the help of army for carrying out operational duties. Army columns were used only to carry out flag marches which had little impact on the, by now hardened and emboldened, rioters. The imposition of curfew from the night of 7 December 1992 also did not appear to deter the clashing mobs in view of its effete enforcement. Police intervention came about by resort to fire on 72 occasions, killing 15 Hindus and 72 Muslims and injuring 131 Muslims and one Christian.

By the 10th December, the situation had improved further with the number of police stations affected coming down to four, though serious communal riots occurred in Dharavi and Mahim police jurisdictions to control which the police had to fire on three and two occasions respectively. Two Muslims were injured in police firing within the jurisdiction of Mahim.

By the 12th December, the situation showed further improvement and the number of police stations affected came down to 14, though there also the occurrences were stray. There were three instances of police firing, one each in Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Dindoshi in which one Hindu and one Muslim were injured. Mob violence took the toll of one life. There were six cases of stabbing in which 1 Hindu and two Muslims died and one Hindu and one Muslim sustained injuries. There were eight stray cases of arson. Four dead bodies, all of Muslims, having multiple stab wounds on vital organs and in highly decomposed condition, were recovered from a gutter in Golibar area.

In yet another incident, one was found murdered with her throat slit and her body was dumped in the open compound of National Girls’ High School adjoining Behrampada.

The December phase of the rioting petered out by 12 December 1992. The police appeared to have regained grip on the law and order situation and peace appeared to have returned. However, beneath the surface there was simmering discontent and seething anger amongst the Muslims that unduly excessive police firing had resulted in large number of Muslim casualties. Media had criticised the police for having used unnecessary and excessive fire–power, going so far as to suggest that Muslims were intentionally targeted and selectively killed. This refrain was repeated by political leaders and ministers, past and current. The explanation of the commissioner of police that the aggressive and violent mobs in the initial stages comprised Muslims and therefore, Muslim casualties were higher. Considering it from all aspects, the Commission was not inclined to give serious credence to the theory that dis–proportionately large number of Muslim deaths in December 1992 was necessarily indicative of an attempt on the part of the police to target and liquidate Muslims because of bias.

12 December 1992 to 5 January 1993[edit]

On 20 December 1992, two Muslims were locked inside a room in Goregaon jurisdiction, and the room was set on fire as a result of which they suffered severe burns resulting in the death of one.

Two bodies, one of a male Hindu and another identified as that of a uniformed Muslim police constable attached to the Nasik Rural Police Headquarters, were recovered from the septic tank of the public latrine in Behrampada on 20 and 21 December 1992 respectively. These bodies bore multiple stab injuries. It would appear that there was a systematic attempt to stab and murder Hindus and the policeman, though a Muslim, became a victim of the anger of the Muslims directed against the uniform worn by him.

On 24/25 December 1992 one Mathadi worker was killed in Dongri area. Though subsequent investigation by police resulted in arrest of the accused who was an alcoholic and whose motive was far from communal, at the material time the immediate reaction was that the killing was done of a Muslim.

The fires under the simmering cauldron were continuously stoked by communal activities even after the active phase of the December 1992 riots was over. There was a sudden spurt in attendance at Friday namaaz in mosques, which was interpreted by the Hindu as ominous and evidencing intent to seek revenge on the part of Muslims. This was because it was alleged that the namaaz were used as occasions for delivering instigatory communal speeches. The Hindus replied with Maha aartis (Great Hindu worship of the God), in an ostensible response against the sudden spurt in namaaz on streets. The Maha aartis were started from 26 December 1992 were viewed as a direct challenge to the Muslims, and endangered the fragile peace which had been established, with allegations that participants of the Maha aartis indulged in rioting. The Maha aartis continued unabated throughout January 1993 and came to an end only by or about the first week of February 1993.

The last week of December 1992 and first week of January 1993, particularly between 1 and 5 January, saw a series of stabbing incidents in which both Hindus and Muslims were victims, though the majority of such incidents took place in Muslim dominated areas of South Bombay and a majority of victims were Hindus[citation needed]. The stabbings appeared to be executed with professional accuracy intended to kill the victims[citation needed]. The killers had not been then identified in several cases, though it was presumed, at least in the cases where the Hindus were victims, that the killers were Muslims and vice versa. The motive for the stabbings appears to have been to whip up communal frenzy between Hindus and Muslims.

On 25 December 1992 a pamphlet in Urdu language was distributed around Jama Masjid in Mahim area. This pamphlet was communally provocative and incited Muslims to fight against Hindus and calls upon the Muslims to the construct the Babri Masjid if necessary, with blood.[citation needed]

On 1 January 1993 there was an article in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamna under the caption "Hindunni Akramak Vhayala Have" (Hindus must be aggressive now), openly inciting Hindus to violence.

On 2 January 1993, a number of Muslim hutments in M.P. Mill Compound in Tardeo jurisdiction were set on fire. On the same day there was an incident in Dharavi jurisdiction in which two Muslims were assaulted with iron rods by Hindus.

On 4 January 1993 a big mob of Hindus led by Gajanan Kirtikar, Ramesh More and other Shiv Sena activists took a morcha to the Jogeshwari Police Station complaining of lack of security for Hindus. Some of the people in the morcha attacked Chacha Nagar Masjid and the Muslims in the vicinity and killed them. Several Muslim huts in Magdum Nagar in Mahim jurisdiction were set on fire by Hindus.

On the night of 5 January 1993 a worker employed in the godown of Vijay Transport Company who was sleeping in the godown went to the street to relieve himself. Suddenly, he was set upon by miscreants who stabbed him to death. Three more workers who came out of the godown to help him were also stabbed to death. The murders of the workers created tremendous tension in the area. The workers' Union called for a Bandh. Huge meetings were held which were addressed by leaders of Unions. Speeches were made during this meeting to condemn the police and Government for their ineffectiveness with exhortations that Hindus might have to pick up swords to defend themselves if the police failed to protect them. At the time when these murders of workers took place, neither the police, nor the public, had a clue as to the identity of the killers, which came to be established much later. Nonetheless, the Hindus spearheaded by the Shiv Sena kicked up a furore that the murders had been committed by Muslims, virtually giving a call for arms, killing 10 Muslims. On 5/6 January 1993 the workers gave a call for bandh of wholesale markets, which also gave immense publicity to the murders of the workers allegedly by Muslims.

6 January 1993 to 11 January 1993[edit]

On 6 January 1993 there were several cases of stabbing in Dongri, Pydhonie, V.P. Road and Nagpada jurisdictions in which the victims were innocent pedestrians who were stabbed. Cases of stabbing, arson, mob violence and attacks on private and Government properties occurred in Dongri, Pydhonie, V.P. Road, Nagpada, Tardeo, Mahim, Dharavi, Nirmal Nagar, Chembur and Kherwadi police stations. Most of the stabbing cases occurred in isolated lanes and bye–lanes and by the time police arrived on the scene, the miscreants would vanish. In all, 18 cases of stabbing were reported by the evening of this day of which were from Pydhonie, two from Dharavi, two from V.P. Road, two from Nagpada and one each from Nirmal Nagar, Kherwadi and Andheri. These stabbing cases resulted in one Hindu, one Muslim and two others being killed and 1 Hindu, one Muslim and one other being injured. Mob violence accounted for the deaths of one Hindu and one Muslim and injuries to nine Hindus and eighteen Muslims. Rumours of further imminent riots swept the city and the police were unable to scotch them. Despite repeated denials of such rumours by the police, the public did not believe them.

The situation in Mahim went out of control at 21:00 hours. Hindus attacked Muslims in Muslim pockets in Mahim area and killed them, led by Shiv Sena Corporator, Milind Vaidya, and a police constable, Sanjay Gawade, openly carrying a sword. There were serious riots in which frenzied mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other.

On the 7th January, the violence and riots afflicted other parts of the city. There were more deaths and more stabbings and 16 police station areas (Pydhonie, Dongri, Agripada, Gamdevi, V.P. Road, Byculla, Bhoiwada, Nagpada, Kherwadi, Nehru Nagar, Kurla, Deonar, Trombay, Bandra, Vakola and Jogeshwari) were affected by serious riots. The stabbing incidents resulted in deaths of 16 Hindu and four Muslims and injured 3 Hindus and twelve Muslims.

Eleven cases of mob violence occurred in different jurisdictional areas, killing two Muslims and injuring two Hindus and two Muslims. Seven cases of arson were reported on that day in which, apart from huge property loss, two Muslims were killed; two Hindus and two Muslims were injured. The police resorted to firing on four occasions, resulting in injuries to 3 Hindus and 5 Muslims. Violent mobs of Hindus and Muslims kept attacking each other and the police when they tried to intervene.

The mobs also created roadblocks to prevent the police and fire-brigade from reaching the sites of incidents for rendering assistance. A taxi in which three Muslims were travelling was set on fire by Shiv Sena workers in Pratiksha Nagar, Antop Hill jurisdiction, resulting in the 2 Muslims being burnt alive.

By the 8 January, the Hindu backlash commenced. The communal riots spread to the jurisdictions of Pydhonie, Dongri, Jogeshwari, M.R.A. Marg, L.T. Marg, V.P. Road, D.B. Marg, Gamdevi, Nagpada, Agripada, Byculla, Kala Chowki, N.M. Joshi Marg, Worli, Bhoiwada, Dadar, Mahim, Dharavi, Kurla, Nehru Nagar, Trombay, Chembur, Bandra, Nirmal Nagar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Parksite, Vakola, Oshiwara, D.N. Nagar, Jogeshwari and Aarey sub–police stations.

Sixty–six stabbing cases were reported from different jurisdictions, in which 3 Hindu, 37 Muslims and two others were killed and injuries caused to several Muslims. Forty–eight cases of mob violence occurred in which sixteen Muslims were killed and 4 Hindus and 17 Muslims and one other received injuries. Thirty–one cases of arson were reported which, apart from causing loss of property, resulted in deaths of two Muslims and injuries to five Muslims and one Hindu.

A dargah and mosque in Pydhonie jurisdiction, a kabrastan and a madrassa in Jogeshwari jurisdiction and a temple in Byculla jurisdiction were attacked and damaged. Police resorted to firing on 31 occasions in different jurisdictions resulting in the killing of six Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 10 Hindus and 24 Muslims and one other. Several raids conducted by the police resulted in seizure of weapons of offence like broken tube lights, swords, petrol bombs and daggers.

That the rioters had become defiant and the authority of the police was considerably eroded, appeared clear when a crude bomb was hurled at the police commissioner's car from one of the buildings in Pydhonie jurisdiction and exploded on the road. The commissioner of police and his staff had a lucky escape, though the severity of the explosion caused a big dent on the road. Eleven army columns were deployed by the police to do Flag March in different areas. Curfew was imposed in areas where it was considered necessary.

On the 9th January, fifty–seven cases of stabbing resulting in death of five Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 7 Hindus, 41 Muslims and one other, were reported. Ninety–seven cases of mob violence occurred in various parts of the city resulting in the death of one Hindu and sixteen Muslims and injures to 9 Hindus and 24 Muslims. Seventy-three cases of arson were reported from different jurisdictions which caused loss of property, death of a Hindu and six Muslims and injures to two Hindus and six Muslims.

In Pydhonie jurisdiction, few rounds were fired at a police picket from the Suleman Bakery rooftop. The policemen climbed to the terrace of the Taj Book Depot, a neighbouring building, and sighted 8 – 10 persons hiding behind the water tank on the bakery rooftop. Inspector Anant Ingale shouted warnings and fired a few shots from his service revolver, but his party was no match to the automatic weapon wielding group. Joint Commissioner of Police R. D. Tyagi arrived with the Special Operations Squad (SOS), and demanded the opening of the locked door of the Bakery. The inmates responded by throwing soda-water bottles and acid bulbs. The SOS stormed into the Bakery and were promptly attacked by about 15 people armed with choppers, knives and iron bars. There was no surrender or cessation of attack, so the Police had to open fire. Totally, 78 Muslims were flushed out of the bakery dead, by the police.

Fifty–two cases of police firing occurred in different jurisdictions, killing 5 Hindus, 22 Muslims and one other. Police combing operations resulted in the seizure of stocks of swords, iron bars, choppers, kerosene cans, acid bulbs and soda water bottles from different areas.

On the 10th January, twenty–six army columns were deployed for carrying out flag marches and for the first time the Government issued instructions to the commissioner of police that the army personnel may be directed to do operational duties by resorting to firing after taking control of a situation. Fifty–one police stations were affected by the riots. Eighty–one cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in deaths of 10 Hindus and 39 Muslims and injuries to 12 Hindus and 42 Muslims. One hundred and eight cases of arson occurred in which there was property loss, death of one Hindu, seven Muslims and two others, while one Hindu, one Muslim and one other were injured. Attempts of the fire brigade to reach the places of fire were frustrated by the rioters who not only blocked the streets but also threatened the fire brigade staff and resorted to stone-throwing against the fire brigade vehicles. Fires blazed uncontrolled.

Mob violence was reported from 25 jurisdictions causing deaths of two Hindus, nineteen Muslims, while 3 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others were injured.

The police were given orders to fire and resorted to firing on 82 occasions, resulting in deaths of 2 Hindus, 23 Muslims and one other, while injuries were caused to 7 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others. Police seized large number of swords, choppers, tube lights, fireballs, soda water bottles, iron bars, guptis and also one country-made revolver. The situation was very grave in several jurisdictional areas. Even normally law-abiding citizens seemed gripped by the communal frenzy and were seen attacking members of the rival community. Peace committee members, politicians and other social workers were conspicuous by their absence. Communal hatred and fear psychosis appeared to have overtaken the citizens of Bombay making tolerance and reason prime casualties. Rumours about attacks from rival community swept the city.

By the 11 January, the situation continued to be serious. Fifty–two police stations were affected by communal violence in varying degrees. Eighty–six cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in the death of 11 Hindus, 44 Muslims and 1 other; 11 Hindus, 68 Muslims and one other were injured. Four Hindus, 19 Muslims and two others were killed in 129 incidents of mob violence in different jurisdictions. Ninety–three cases of arson in different jurisdictions resulted in the death of two Hindus and 20 Muslims and injuries to seventeen Muslims. Police firing on 67 occasions caused to deaths of 3 Hindus and 15 Muslims and injuries to 11 Hindus, 41 Muslims and two others. The army column was used for operational duty in Dadar jurisdiction where it fired on a riotous mob of Hindus without causing any injuries. Police raids in several Muslim pockets unearthed several swords, knives, choppers, kerosene bottles, acid bulbs, tube lights, one country-made revolver and live cartridges.

13–19 January[edit]

By the 13th January, the situation had improved slightly in several areas; the number of affected police stations comes down to 48; stabbing cases to 36; mob violence to 67 and arson to 51. The police resort to firing on 24 occasions resulting in the killing of two Muslims and injuries to six Hindus and fourteen Muslims. Mob violence takes a toll of the lives of three Muslims and injures four Hindus and 18 Muslims. Stabbings cause the death of one Hindu and 19 Muslims, while two Hindus and 10 Muslims and one other are injured.

By the 14th, the situation showed substantial improvement. The number of affected police stations came down to 40, the number of arson cases drops to 39, in which one Hindu and nine Muslims were killed apart from loss to property; mob violence is reported only in 34 cases in which seven Muslims and are killed and nine Muslims are injured; the police resort to firing only on four occasions in which no one is killed and one Hindu is injured. Stabbing cases resulted in the death of three Hindus and 16 Muslims and three others, while six Hindus, 18 Muslims and one other are injured. The deployment of army columns is increased to 36.

By the 15th, the situation had improved further:

  1. There is further improvement in the situation; the number of police stations affected comes down to 29; mob violence occurs only in 24 cases resulting in the death of twelve Muslims and four Hindus and injuries to eight Muslims. The number of stabbing cases comes down to 12 in which one Hindu and 15 Muslims are killed and three Hindus and nine Muslims are injured; the number of arson cases comes down to 25 in which there was only loss of property without death or injury to anyone. The police resort to firing only on two occasions which result in the killing of three Muslims, and injuries to 14 Muslims. Army column deployed at Nirmal Nagar resorts to firing to quell a riotous mob.
  2. The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narsimha Rao, makes a quick tour of the riot-affected areas amidst heavy security arrangements.

By the 16th, the situation showed further improvement. Only 15 stray cases of stabbing are reported in which 12 Muslims are killed and injuries caused to seven Muslims. Seven mob violence cases occur resulting in injury to one Muslim; 23 stray cases of arson are reported in different areas in which there is only property loss. Police firing comes down to two cases in which none is injured.

By the 17th, the situation seemed to be improving for the better. There is no occasion for the police to resort to firing. Three cases of stabbing are reported from different areas in which two Muslims were injured; three minor cases of mob violence occur causing injuries to thirteen Muslims; and six minor cases of arson reported in which, apart from loss of property, one Muslim is killed.

The period subsequent to 20 January 1993[edit]

From 20 January 1993 onwards there was no major communal incident despite a few stray cases being reported. The rumour mills worked overtime and rumours about imminent attacks and explosions likely to occur were thick. Call was given out by Imam of Jama Masjid that Muslims should boycott the Republic Day and hoist black flags on their establishments and houses. Police maintained continued vigil along with the army and paramilitary forces.

On 25 January 1993, there is a minor riot in Dharavi jurisdiction which is quickly controlled by police firing without any death or injury.

26 January 1993 passed off peacefully in all jurisdictions except Dindoshi where the police resorted to firing in which two Muslims were killed and three Muslims were injured; mob violence caused injuries to two policemen and two Muslims.

During the subsequent period in January, the situation in the city slowly comes back to normalcy.

The total number of deaths was 900. The causes for the deaths are police firing (356), stabbing (347), arson (91), mob action (80), private firing (22) and other causes (4).

Role of the Shiv Sena[edit]

The violence was widely reported as having been orchestrated by the Shiv Sena, a Hindu-nationalist political party in Maharashtra.[11] A high-ranking member of the special branch later stated that the police were fully aware of the Shiv Sena's capabilities to commit acts of violence, and that they had incited hate against the minority communities.[12] Historian Barbara Metcalf has stated that the riots were anti-Muslim pogrom.[13]Bal Thackeray, the then-leader of the Shiv Sena, was arrested in July 2000 for his complicity in the riots and for 'inflammatory writings' that may have helped propagate the riots.[14] The case was later dismissed.

Justice B.N. Srikrishna Commission[edit]

Justice Srikrishna, then a relatively junior Judge of the Bombay High Court, accepted the task of investigating the causes of the riots, something that many of his colleagues had turned down[citation needed]. For five years until 1998, he examined victims, witnesses and alleged perpetrators. Detractors came initially from left quarters who were wary of a judge who was a devout and practising Hindu.[15] The Commission was disbanded by the Shiv Sena led government in January 1996 and on public opposition was later reconstituted on 28 May 1996; though when it was reconstituted its terms of reference were extended to include the Bombay bomb blasts that followed in March 1993.

The report of the commission stated that the tolerant and secular foundations of the city were holding even if a little shakily. Justice Srikrishna indicted those he alleged as largely responsible for the second phase of the bloodshed and to some extent the first, the Shiv Sena.

The report was criticised as "politically motivated". For a while, its contents were a closely guarded secret and no copies were available. The Shiv Sena government rejected its recommendations. Since under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, an Inquiry is not a court of law (even if it conducts proceedings like a court of law) and the report of an inquiry is not binding on Governments, Srikrishna's recommendations cannot be directly enforced. To date, the recommendations of the Commission have neither been accepted nor acted upon by the Maharashtra Government.[citation needed] Many indicted policemen were promoted by the government and indicted politicians continue to hold high political office even today.[citation needed]

According to the commission report, the causes of these riots were listed as

  1. Class Conflict
  2. Economic Competition
  3. Decline of employment
  4. Population density
  5. changing political discourse.

The immediate causes were listed as

  1. the demolition of Babri Masjid
  2. the aggravation of Muslim sentiments by the Hindus with their celebration rallies
  3. the insensitive and harsh approach of the police while handling the protesting mobs which initially were not violent.


Arrests, convictions and verdict[edit]

Only 3 convictions happened in the 1992-93 Bombay riots cases.[16] On 10 July 2008, a Mumbai court sentenced former Shiv Sena MP Madhukar Sarpotdar and two other party activists to a year's rigorous imprisonment in connection with the riots.[17][18] However, he was immediately granted bail.[19] He died on 20 February 2010 without serving his sentence.[20]

In popular culture[edit]

The riots are portrayed in several different films:

  • They are the key plot in the 1995 film Bombay in which the protagonists, a Muslim wife and her Hindu husband, are separated from their children during the riots.
  • The 2004 Hindi film Black Friday deals with the events leading to the riots and the aftermath which led to the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, and related investigations, told through the different stories of the people involved – police, conspirators, victims, middlemen.
  • The violence is also an instrumental part of the plot of the film Slumdog Millionaire. The protagonist, Jamal Malik's mother is among those killed in the riots, and he later remarks "If it wasn't for Rama and Allah, we'd still have a mother."[21]
  • The event also appeared in 2010 film Striker, 2000 film Fiza and 2013 film Shahid.
  • The Bombay Riots set the background for the popular Netflix TV Series Sacred Games, which began in 2018. The TV Series shows the rivalry of the protagonist, Ganesh Gaitonde's gang & Isa's gang amidst religious clashes.


  1. ^ Engineer, Asghar Ali (7 May 2012). "The Mumbai riots in historic context". The Hindu.
  2. ^ "Why there's no noise about the Mumbai riots".
  3. ^ a b c "Full Srikrishna report: Chapter 1". Sabrang Communications.
  4. ^ Tambiah, Stanely J. (1997). Leveling Crowds: EthnoNationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia. University of California Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0520206427.
  5. ^ Blom Hansen, Thomas (2001). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay. Princeton University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0691088402.
  6. ^ Metcalf, Barbara (2006). Robert W. Hefner, Muhammad Qasim Zaman (ed.). Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education. Princeton University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0691129334.
  7. ^ ERCES Online Quarterly Review Archived 10 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Religious Identity of the Perpetrators and Victims of Communal Violence in Post-Independence India
  8. ^ Bhagat, R. B. (2001). "Cencus and the Construction of Communalism in India". Economic and Political Weekly. 36 (46/47): 4352–4356. JSTOR 4411376.
  9. ^ a b "Factors responsible for the growth of communalism". Hindustan Times. 29 January 2004. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Communal Violence and the Denial of Justice". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  11. ^ Tambiah, Stanely J. (1997). Leveling Crowds: EthnoNationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia. University of California Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0520206427.
  12. ^ Blom Hansen, Thomas (2001). Wages of Violence: Naming and Identity in Postcolonial Bombay. Princeton University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0691088402.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Barbara (2006). Robert W. Hefner, Muhammad Qasim Zaman (ed.). Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education. Princeton University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0691129334.
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