Explaining Spatial Variation in Hindu-Muslim Violence in Gujarat, 2002
Published: Jun 2011

The worst Hindu-Muslim violence in Gujarat (western India) since Partition occurred in 2002. Compiling data on killings reported in the Times of India, we analyze how violence varied across 216 urban and rural areas. This demonstrates that violence was a product of political calculation and economic deprivation. Killings were low where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was weak, but were also low where the BJP was strong; it peaked where the BJP faced the greatest electoral competition. Killings increased with greater economic deprivation, measured by underemployment and youth unemployment.Confounding expectations, violence was lower where Scheduled Castes and Tribes composed a higher proportion of the population. The fact that violence in towns and cities followed a political logic is confirmed by an analysis of the subsequent election: the BJP's vote increased most in districts with the worst violence.


This paper was published in Politics and Society:
 Raheel Dhattiwala and Michael Biggs. 2012. "The Political Logic of Ethnic Violence: the Anti-Muslim Pogrom in Gujarat, 2002', Politics and Society, vol. 40. no. 4, pp. 481-514.

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  • Raheel Dhattiwala
  • ,
  • Michael Biggs
  • ,

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