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20 years after Babri Masjid demolition, UP still prone to communal tension


Shreya Dhoundial,CNN-IBN
Dec 06, 2012 at 11:31am IST

Faizabad: Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh is a town which saw no communal riot even during the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which happened just a few kilometres away. 20 years after the demolition, CNN-IBN travelled to the neighbourhood of UP's temple town of Ayodhya to find out why peace was shattered there, much like in at least eight other major cities across the state, in 2012.

A little over a month ago Faizabad's secular credentials were put through its toughest agnipariksha in the past 20 years. Barely 15 km from Ayodhya, it had seen no violence when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. But 2012 changed things.

The masjid which showered flowers on passing durga idols every year became the centre of communal rioting in 2012. The spark, police say, was a case of a Hindu girl being molested by a Muslim boy and a few stones hurled on the procession. Within an hour, the rioting spread across the district gutting shops and homes and killing two. 119 people were arrested, but the scars are everywhere.

Durga Prasad Gupta was on his way back home when he was stabbed by a rioter. He left behind a widow and four young children, one of them suffering from cerebral palsy. As the Gupta family stares at an uncertain future, Ahmeddudin is trying to salvage what is left of the past - his 100 year old shoe shop was torched by the mob and he is convinced the violence was orchestrated.

In a state rocked by eight big instances of communal violence in the past eight months, conspiracy theories and rumours abound. But most like Abdul Hafiz put it down to a complete breakdown of law and order under the Samajwadi Party rule.

As Faizabad gets back to normal and yet another Babri anniversary passes by, there are some statistics that should worry Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. According to a report tabled in Parliament, Uttar Pradesh saw 104 incidents of minor and major communal tensions in 2012 that resulted in 34 deaths, the most in any state. But what should perhaps worry him even more is his perceived inability or unwillingness to deal with a crisis fast spiralling out of control.

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