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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: It seems riots ran riot in Odisha! For which, the State topped the country in industrial riots, ranked number two in political riots and number three in communal or religious riots in the year 2017.

Such explosive facts have come up in the Crime in India - 2017 report released on Monday. Odisha with a total of  2,407 riots ranked sixth in the country in 2017.

The prevailing home-truths are seemingly a headache for the State government, when it is organising grand gala events like 'Make in Odisha' to lure investments. On the contrary, Odisha topped the chart of industrial riots in the country.

Industrial riots mean mobs resorting to violence in instances pertaining to  industrial disputes in the State. As per the NCRB report, Odisha had recorded 81 such incidents in 2017. All other states in the country had recorded such riot cases below 20.

And when political intolerance has been the buzzword in the country, the delirious fact was Odisha ranked second in the country in political riots. Political riots mean violent unrest over a political cause. Generally, it is seen as agitations launched by political parties that take a riotous hue.

As per the report, Odisha with 210 political riots is behind Kerala (980 cases).

An analysis showed that Gujarat (where the Patel agitation for reservation turned into a political showdown), Tripura (where BJP and then ruling Left government were face-to-face) and Maharashtra (where many agitations were then held for demanding reservations and on many other issues with open and tacit political support) have recorded majority of the political riots in the country.

Significantly, Odisha saw the height of political triggered violence in 2017, when ‘eggs’  dominated the State politics. Both ruling and Opposition used this 'egg weapon' to harm their opponents. And, even, ruling BJD workers had then attacked their rivals.

Another big eye-opening fact is Odisha recorded the third highest communal riots in the country in 2017, reveals NCRB report. The State with 91 communal/religious riots finished third after Bihar and Karnataka.

The significant mention here is Bhadrak had witnessed the worst riots in year 2017. And reports of involvement of high ranking ruling party leaders had then snowballed into a big issue, which forced CM Naveen Patnaik to reach the ground zero to assuage the fanned flames then.

However, the good part of the NCRB story is Odisha had witnessed only 17 caste riots in 2017 and 11 agrarian riots, despite farmers being  at warpath then. This shows how Odisha farmers have resorted to least violence, even when the State government had used all its might to clampdown their numerous protests in 2017.

But the disconcerting fact is spontaneous riots turned a law and order problem for the State. Because, the State witnessed at least 5 such spontaneous riots a day since 2015. Odisha recorded 1,884 such riots in 2017.

Spontaneous riots are the riots that happen at the spur of a moment and the trigger factor varies from road accident to tiff between villagers over a trifle dispute.

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