Riot Politics

Riot Politics: Hindu-Muslim Violence and the Indian State by Ward Berenschot from Rupa & Co.

On 27 February 2002, fifty-eight people died when a coach of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire just outside a small-town railway station in Gujarat. The incident sparked the Gujarat riots, one of the worst outbursts of Hindu-Muslim violence in recent history.

Based on an extensive ethnographic study of Gujarats local politics, Riot Politics offers a novel approach to understanding the processes that foster outbursts of communal violence in India. Berenschot argues that the difficulties faced by poorer citizens when dealing with state institutions underlie the capacity and interests of political actors to instigate and organise communal violence.

As the reader is led into the often shadowy world of local politics in Gujarat, the author reveals how the capacity and willingness of various types of rioters ranging from politicians, local criminals, fundamentalist groups, to neighbourhood leaders and police officials to organise and perpetrate violence is closely related to the different political positions these actors hold.

In our Religion and Sociology section, Rs. 495, in hardback, 252 pages, ISBN: 9788129123756