India is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society for centuries. Until recently there was no conflict between various religious and ethnic groups but the onset of modernity, democracy and the British policy of divide and rule created inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflict.


This conflict often tends to be quite violent and results in mutual killings of one-sided massacres. The main conflict in India is between Hindus and Muslims. Often this results in communal riots in which hundreds are killed. Recently communal violence erupted in Gujarat in which more than two thousand Muslims were massacred by Hindu fanatics with the help of state machinery.


There is also conflict between Hindus and Christians though it is not as intense and violent as it is between Hindus and Muslims. There have been instances of attacking churches, burning bibles, raping nuns and killing priests.


In North-East of India there is ethnic conflict which has assumed cessasionist proportions as in Nagaland and Assam. There is always clashes between armed extremist and armed forces and para-military forces. The Kashmir in North-West is also experiencing intense ethnic conflict. Kashmir is the only region in which another country i.e. Pakistan is also involved.


This is a brief profile of inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflict in India.

By Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer

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