Bombay Riots

Bombay Riots

The Bombay Riots usually refers to the riots in Mumbai, in December 1992 and January 1993, in which around 900 people died. An estimated 575 Muslims (67%) and 275 Hindus (32%) died, and 2,000 people were injured in the riots.[1] . An investigative commission was formed under Justice B.N. Srikrishna, but the recommendations of the Inquiry were not enforced.[2] The riots were followed by the 12 March 1993 Bombay Bombings, perpetuated by Muslim fundamentalists[3] with alleged help of ganglord Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Company syndicate, in which 250 people, mostly Hindus.[3].



The riots started as a result of communal tension prevailing in the city after the Babri Mosque demolition on 6 December 1992. It is commonly believed that the riots occurred in two phases. The first was mainly a Muslim backlash as a result of the Babri Masjid demolition in the week immediately succeeding 6 December 1992 led by Hindu hard-line elements in the city of Ayodhya.

The second phase was a Hindu backlash occurring as a result of the killings of Hindu Mathadi Kamgar (workers) by Muslims in Dongri (an area of South Bombay), stabbing of Hindus in Muslim majority areas and burning of six Hindus, including a physically handicapped girl in Radhabai Chawl. This phase occurred in January 1993, with most incidents reported between 6 January and 20 January.

The events listed by SriKrishna commission:

6 December 1992

i) News of demolition of Babri Masjid spread by 1430 hours on 6 December 1992. The cry of danger to Islam reverberated in the air. The Muslim fundamentalists seized this opportunity to aggressively propagate that Islam was in imminent danger since proponents of the Hindu nation had been allowed a free hand to destroy, in broad day light, under the very nose of the armed forces, the Babri Masjid, a standing symbol of Islam, despite assurances and undertakings by the Uttar Pradesh state Government and the Government of India that no harm would be permitted to be caused to the Babri Masjid during kar seva at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. The repeated media coverage, particularly on television, of footage of file pictures of previous kar seva during which some of the misguided kar sevaks were seen dancing on the dome of the Masjid, as well as the latest video shots showing actual demolition of the Babri Masjid, caused a sense of deep resentment, frustration and anger in the Muslims. The ready explosive mixture was ignited by the demolition of Babri Masjid which provided the spark of ignition. The sight of large contingent of armed constabulary and Central and state para–military forces standing mutely without raising a finger to protect the mosque being pulled down and the fact that some of them were even seen to be gleeful over the said fact, caused deep hurt to the Muslims.

ii) There were Hindutva parties that celebrated the demolition of Babri structure. The Muslims protested, and protested angrily on the streets. Large number of Muslims congregated near Minara Masjid in Pydhonie jurisdiction at about 2320 hours on 6 December 1992 and came out protesting. The peaceful protest turned into a violent demonstration, during which the first targets of the anger of the mob became the municipal vans and the constabulary, both visible signs of the establishment.

iii) Activists of Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena jumped into the fray, and escalated communal passion, as seen from their act of stopping the vehicles on roads in the jurisdiction of V.P. Road Police Station.

iv) In Nirmal Nagar jurisdiction, a Ganesh idol in the Ganesh Mandir on Anant Kanekar Marg was found decapitated and moved out from its place of installation though the lock on the grill surrounding the sanctum sanctorum was found intact. This was noticed at about 2345 hours. Though at the time the incident happened there were no immediate clues as to the identity of the miscreants, it was widely suspected that Muslims fanatics were behind it.

v) In the jurisdiction of Deonar, there was a sharp counter–reaction by Muslims who stoned the house of a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader. The situation was getting uglier with attacks on Hindu temples in this area.

7 December 1992

i) From 7 December 1992 onwards there was a qualitative transformation in the situation. Large mobs of Muslims came on the streets and there was recourse taken to violence without doubt. The Muslim mobs appeared to have come out with the intention of mounting violent attacks as noticed from their preparedness with weapons of offence. There were violent attacks on the policemen in Muslim dominated areas like Bhendi Bazar and its vicinity. The jurisdictional areas affected were mostly Muslim dominated or mixed localities in which Hindu youths aggravated the situation by engaging the rioting Muslims, leading to a situation where the police found it difficult to restrain both sections; when the police did it by force, the police came to be attacked by both Hindu and Muslim mobs.

ii) By this time the protest had degenerated into a full–scale communal riot between Hindus and Muslims. Eleven temples in different jurisdictions were damaged, demolished or set on fire. The Hindus did not fall behind and damaged mosques and madrassas in different jurisdictions. BEST buses in the Bombay Central Bus Depot and BEST bus stops became easy targets for the Muslim mobs and were damaged and/or set on fire.

iii) Two Constables in Deonar jurisdiction were killed with choppers and swords by the rampaging Muslims. While one lay on the ground bleeding to death, the body of another was dragged and thrown into the garbage heap from where it was recovered seven days later. One constable was done to death in Byculla jurisdiction. Several police officers and policemen who bravely attempted to stem the tide sustained injuries in mob action.

iv) Jogeshwari area, which has been the hotbed of frequent communal riots saw serious riots at the junction of Pascal Colony and Shankar Wadi. A police officer on duty received a bullet injury in his head and died subsequently, though it cannot be said with certitude that it was a case of private firing. The police recovered large number of iron rods, sickles, choppers, knives and soda water bottles from different jurisdictions indicating that there was intention and preparations to carry on the communal riots.

v) Though the police found their resources stretched, they were unwilling to take the help of army for carrying out operational duties. Army columns were used only to carry out flag marches which had little impact on the, by now hardened and emboldened, rioters. The imposition of curfew from the night of 7 December 1992 also did not appear to deter the clashing mobs in view of its effete enforcement. Police intervention came about by resort to fire on 72 occasions, killing 20 Hindus and 72 Muslims and injuring 131 Muslims and one other.

8 December 1992

i) On 8 December 1992 communal rioting and communal violence spread to 33 jurisdictions, the number of clashes of rioting mobs with police as well as rioting mobs inter se increased alarmingly. Attacks on places of worship also continued.

ii) The police had to resort to firing in 43 cases resulting in the death of 21 Hindus, 31 Muslims and three others. There were several cases of mob violence, stabbing and arson. One temple in Dharavi, four in Deonar, one in Park Site and one in Saki Naka were attacked. Simultaneously, two mosques in Dharavi, one madrassas in Mahim and Bhoiwada each and one dargah in Dadar were also attacked.

9 December 1992

i) The situation improved for better and the number of cases of mob violence, stabbing, arson and rioting showed a downward trend. The number of occasions when the police had to resort to firing dropped to 28. The police firing resulted in deaths of 17 persons (five Hindus and 12 Muslims) while 13 Hindus, 12 Muslims and six others sustained injuries. Thirty–four cases of arson resulting in loss of property and injuries to one Hindu and 10 Muslims were reported from different jurisdictions. Two temples in Ghatkopar, one mosque in Trombay and one kabrastan in Jogeshwari were subjected to attack by violent mobs.

10 December 1992

i) The situation improved further with the number of police stations affected coming down to four, though serious communal riots occurred in Dharavi and Mahim police jurisdictions to control which the police had to fire on three and two occasions respectively. Two Muslims were injured in police firing within the jurisdiction of Mahim.

11 December 1992

i) On this day there was one case of private firing in Azad Maidan jurisdiction in which one Hindu died and four Hindus were injured. However, there was further improvement in overall situation. There was no occasion for police to resort to firing, though 23 different police stations appear to have been affected in varying degrees.

12 December 1992

i) The situation showed further improvement and the number of police stations affected came down to 14, though there also the occurrences were stray. There were three instances of police firing, one each in Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Dindoshi in which one Hindu and one Muslim were injured. Mob violence took the toll of one Hindu's life. There were six cases of stabbing in which seven Hindus and two Muslims died and two Hindus and one Muslim sustained injuries. There were eight stray cases of arson.

1.4 December phase of the rioting petered out by 12 December 1992. The police appeared to have regained grip on the law and order situation and peace appeared to have returned. However, behind the surface there was simmering discontent and seething anger amongst the Muslims that unduly excessive police firing had resulted in large number of Muslim casualties. Media had criticized the police for having used unnecessary and excessive fire–power, going so far as to suggest that Muslims were intentionally targeted and selectively killed. This refrain was repeated by political leaders and ministers, past and current. The explanation of the commissioner of police that the aggressive and violent mobs in the initial stages comprised Muslims and,

Therefore, Muslim casualties were higher, does not appear to be as far-fetched as it has been made out by Muslims, nor can it be dismissed offhand. Despite standing instructions to police that the firing should be effective and directed below the waist, there were number of cases in which the victims, mostly Muslims, appear to have sustained injuries above the waist, leading to death. This per se is not suggestive of deliberate firing and wanton killing on the part of police.

The explanation of police is two–fold. Firstly, that rioters in a mob are moving targets and second, firing under attack from a frenzied mob, unlike target practice, is fraught with errors of judgment. Even a fractional error in the angle of ejection could mean drastic change in the trajectory of the projectile and wide variance in the point of impact. This explanation is not so improbable as to be rejected outright. The possibility of some of the rioters ducking to escape becoming targets and in the bargain taking the bullets in the upper regions of their body is not too remote for consideration.

1.5 Considering it from all aspects, the Commission is not inclined to give serious credence to the theory that dis–proportionately large number of Muslim deaths in December 1992 was necessarily indicative of an attempt on the part of the police to target and liquidate Muslims because of bias.

1.6 The Commission is of the view that there is evidence of police bias against Muslims which has manifested itself in other ways like the harsh treatment given to them, failure to register even cognizable offences by Muslim complainants and the indecent haste shown in classifying offences registered in "A" summary in cases where Muslim complainants had specifically indicated the names and even addresses of the miscreants. That there was a general bias against the Muslims in the minds of the average policemen which was evident in the way they dealt with the Muslims, is accepted by the officer of the rank of Additional Commissioner, V.N. Deshmukh. This general police bias against Muslims crystallizes itself in action during January 1993.

12 December 1992 to 5 January 1993

i) On 20 December 1992 two Muslims were locked inside a room and the room was set on fire in Goregaon jurisdiction as a result of which they suffered severe burns resulting in the death of one.

ii) On 24/25 December 1992 one Mathadi worker was killed in Dongri area. Though subsequent investigation by police resulted in arrest of the accused who was an alcoholic and whose motive was far from communal, at the material time the immediate reaction was that the killing was done by a Muslim.

iii) The fires under the simmering cauldron were continuously stoked by communal activities even after the active phase of the December 1992 riots was over. There was a sudden spurt in attendance at Friday namaaz in mosques, which was interpreted by the Hindu fanatics as ominous and evidencing intent to seek revenge on the part of Muslims. The Hindus replied with their ingenious Mahaartis, ostensibly to protest against the namaaz on streets and calling of azaans from mosques, though both were going on for years and were, perhaps, no more than minor irritants. The Mahaartis were started from 26 December 1992 and kept adding to the communal tension and endangering the fragile peace which had been established. Some of the Mahaartis were later used as occasions for delivering communally inciting speeches and the crowds dispersing from the Mahaarti indulged in damage, looting and arson of Muslim establishments in the vicinity and on their way. The Mahaartis continued unabated throughout January 1993 and came to an end only by or about the first week of February 1993.

iv) The last week of December 1992 and first week of January 1993, particularly between 1 and 5 January, saw a series of stabbing incidents in which both Hindus and Muslims were victims, though the majority of such incidents took place in Muslim dominated areas of South Bombay and a majority of victims were Hindus. The stabbings appeared to be executed with professional accuracy intended to kill the victims. The killers had not been then identified in several cases, though it was presumed, at least in the cases where the Hindus were victims, that the killers were Muslims. The motive for the stabbings appears to have been to whip up communal frenzy between Hindus and Muslims.

Some of the Muslim criminal elements operating in South Bombay, like Salim Rampuri and Firoz Konkani, have been identified as the brains behind the stabbing incidents. That they were criminals was underplayed by Hindus; that they were Muslims was all that mattered, and a cry went up that the Muslims were bent upon a second round of riots.

v) On 1 January 1993 there was an article in Saamna under the caption "Hindunni Akramak Vhayala Have", openly inciting Hindus to violence.

vi) On 2 January 1993 a number of Muslim hutments in M.P. Mill Compound in Tardeo jurisdiction were set on fire. On the same day there was an incident in Dharavi jurisdiction in which two Muslims were assaulted with iron rods by Hindus.

vii) On 3 January 1993 there was an attack on a Muslim in Dharavi jurisdiction with a knife. On the same day, several persons claiming to be officials of MHADA, and alleged to be Shiv Sainiks, went around Pratiksha Nagar in Antop Hill jurisdiction surveying the residences of Muslims there.

viii) On 4 January 1993 a big mob of Hindus led by Shri Gajanan Kirtikar, Shri Ramesh More and other Shiv Sena activists took a morcha to the Jogeshwari Police Station complaining of lack of security for Hindus. Some of the people in the morcha attacked Chacha Nagar Masjid and the Muslims in the vicinity and injured them. Several Muslim huts in Magdum Nagar in Mahim jurisdiction were set on fire by Hindus.

ix) On the night of 5 January 1993 a Mathadi worker employed in the godown of Vijay Transport Company who was sleeping in the godown went to the street to relieve himself. Suddenly, he was set upon by miscreants who stabbed him to death. Three more Mathadi workers who came out of the godown to help him were also stabbed to death. The murders of the Mathadi workers created tremendous tension in the area. The Mathadi workers' Union called for a Bandh. Huge meetings were held which were addressed by leaders of Mathadi Unions. Speeches were made during this meeting to condemn the police and Government for their ineffectiveness with exhortations that Hindus might have to pick up swords to defend themselves if the police failed to protect them. At the time when these murders of Mathadi workers took place, neither the police, nor the public, had a clue as to the identity of the killers, which came to be established much later. Nonetheless, the Hindus spearheaded by the Shiv Sena kicked up a furore that the murders had been committed by Muslims, virtually giving a call for arms. On 5/6 January 1993 the Mathadi workers gave a call for bandh of wholesale markets, which also gave immense publicity to the murders of the mathadis allegedly by Muslims.

6 January 1993 to 20 January 1993

i) On 6 January 1993 there were several cases of stabbing in Dongri, Pydhonie, V.P. Road and Nagpada jurisdictions in which the victims were innocent pedestrians who were stabbed after ascertaining their identity. Rumours of imminent attacks by Muslims swept the city and the police were unable to scotch them. Despite repeated denials of such rumours by the police, the public did not believe them. Cases of stabbing, arson, mob violence and attacks on private and Government properties occurred in Dongri, Pydhonie, V.P. Road, Nagpada, Tardeo, Mahim, Dharavi, Nirmal Nagar, Chembur and Kherwadi police stations. Most of the stabbing cases occurred in isolated lanes and bye–lanes and by the time police arrived on the scene, the miscreants would vanish. In all, 18 cases of stabbing were reported by the evening of this day of which eight were from Pydhonie, two from Dharavi, two from V.P. Road, two from Nagpada and one each from Nirmal Nagar, Kherwadi and Andheri. These stabbing cases resulted in one Hindu, one Muslim and two others being killed and 13 Hindus, one Muslim and one other being injured. Mob violence accounted for the deaths of seven Hindus and one Muslim and injuries to nine Hindus and eight Muslims.

ii) The situation in Mahim went out of control at 2100 hours. Hindus attacked Muslims in Muslim pockets in Mahim area led by Shiv Sena Corporator, Milind Vaidya, and a police constable, Sanjay Gawade, openly carrying a sword. There were serious riots in which frenzied mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other.

Curtains went up for the second phase of the riots in the city.

7 January 1993

i) The violence and riots spread to several parts of the city. There were more deaths and more stabbings and 16 police station areas (Pydhonie, Dongri, Agripada, Gamdevi, V.P. Road, Byculla, Bhoiwada, Nagpada, Kherwadi, Nehru Nagar, Kurla, Deonar, Trombay, Bandra, Vakola and Jogeshwari) were affected by serious riots. The stabbing incidents resulted in deaths of 16 Hindus and four Muslims and injured 41 Hindus and twelve Muslims. Eleven cases of mob violence occurred in different jurisdictional areas, killing two Hindus and injuring ten Hindus and two Muslims. Seven cases of arson were reported on that day in which, apart from huge property loss, two Hindus were killed; five Hindus and two Muslims were injured. A dargah in Pydhonie jurisdiction and another dargah in V.P.Road jurisdiction were attacked by Hindu mobs. The police resorted to firing on four occasions, resulting in injuries to 6 Hindus and 5 Muslims. Violent mobs of Hindus and Muslims kept attacking each other and the police when they tried to intervene. The mobs also created roadblocks to prevent the police and fire-brigade from reaching the sites of incidents for rendering assistance. A taxi in which two Muslims were travelling was set on fire in Pratiksha Nagar, Antop Hill jurisdiction, resulting in the two Muslims being burnt alive.

8 January 1993

i) A gruesome incident occurred during the wee hours of 8 January 1993, at about 0030 hours, some of the Hindu residences in a chawl popularly known as Radhabai Chawl in Jogeshwari jurisdiction were locked from outside and set on fire by miscreants. One male and five female members of a Hindu family (Bane) and their neighbours were charred to death and three other Hindus sustained serious burn injuries. One of the victims was a handicapped girl.

ii) The Hindu "backlash" commenced. The communal riots spread to the jurisdictions of Pydhonie, Dongri, Jogeshwari, M.R.A. Marg, L.T. Marg, V.P. Road, D.B. Marg, Gamdevi, Nagpada, Agripada, Byculla, Kala Chowki, N.M. Joshi Marg, Worli, Bhoiwada, Dadar, Mahim, Dharavi, Kurla, Nehru Nagar, Trombay, Chembur, Bandra, Nirmal Nagar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Parksite, Vakola, Oshiwara, D.N. Nagar, Jogeshwari and Aarey sub–police stations. Sixty–six stabbing cases were reported from different jurisdictions, in which 11 Hindus, 15 Muslims and two others were killed and injuries caused to several Hindus and Muslims. Forty–eight cases of mob violence occurred in which six Muslims were killed and 11 Hindus and 17 Muslims and one other received injuries. Thirty–one cases of arson were reported which, apart from causing loss of property, resulted in deaths of six Hindus and two Muslims and injuries to five Muslims and two Hindus. A dargah and mosque in Pydhonie jurisdiction, a kabrastan and a madrassa in Jogeshwari jurisdiction and a temple in Byculla jurisdiction were attacked and damaged. Police resorted to firing on 31 occasions in different jurisdictions resulting in the killing of nine Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 20 Hindus and 24 Muslims and one other. Several raids conducted by the police resulted in seizure of weapons of offence like broken tube lights, swords, petrol bombs and daggers.

iii) That the rioters had become defiant and the authority of the police was considerably eroded, appeared clear when a crude bomb was hurled at the police commissioner's car from one of the buildings in Pydhonie jurisdiction and exploded on the road. The commissioner of police and his staff had a lucky escape, though the severity of the explosion caused a big dent on the road. Eleven army columns were deployed by the police to do Flag March in different areas. Curfew was imposed in areas where it was considered necessary.

9 January 1993

i) The riots continued unabated in 43 police station jurisdictions. Fifty–seven cases of stabbing resulting in death of eight Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 27 Hindus, 33 Muslims and one other, were reported. Ninety–seven cases of mob violence occurred in various parts of the city resulting in the death of one Hindu and six Muslims and injures to 19 Hindus and 24 Muslims. Seventy-three cases of arson were reported from different jurisdictions which caused loss of property, death of three Hindus and six Muslims and injures to four Hindus and six Muslims.

ii) The Shiv Sainiks mobilised themselves for retaliating against the Muslims. The shakhas in different jurisdictional areas turned into centres of local commands. The attacks on Muslims by the Shiv Sainiks were mounted with military precision, with list of establishments and voter's lists in hand.

iii) Police suspected terrorists to be holed up on the terrace of Suleman Usman Bakery in Pydhonie jurisdiction. Operation launched against the alleged terrorists by the Special Operation Squad (SOS) under the direction of joint commissioner of police, R.D. Tyagi, and extensive firing by the SOS resulted in deaths of nine Muslims. The police failed to apprehend even a single so–called terrorist, nor did they seize any fire–arms, sophisticated or otherwise, from which firing was done at them, as claimed.

iv) Fifty–two cases of police firing occurred in different jurisdictions, killing 15 Hindus, 22 Muslims and one other. Police combing operations resulted in seizure of stocks of swords, iron bars, choppers, kerosene cans, acid bulbs and soda water bottles from different areas.

10 January 1993

i) Twenty–six army columns were deployed for carrying out flag marches and for the first time the Government issued instructions to the commissioner of police that the army personnel may be directed to do operational duties by resorting to firing after taking control of a situation. Fifty–one police stations were affected by the riots. Eighty–one cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in deaths of 10 Hindus and 39 Muslims and injuries to 24 Hindus and 42 Muslims. One hundred and eight cases of arson occurred in which there was property loss, death of one Hindu, five Muslims and two others, while one Hindu, one Muslim and one other were injured. Attempts of the fire brigade to reach the places of fire were frustrated by the rioters who not only blocked the streets but also threatened the fire brigade staff and resorted to stone throwing against the fire brigade vehicles. Fires blazed uncontrolled.

Mob violence was reported from 25 jurisdictions causing deaths of two Hindus, nine Muslims, while 13 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others were injured.

ii) The police were given orders to fire by B.C. Message No.454 dated 10 January 1993 at about 1140 hours and resorted to firing on 82 occasions, resulting in deaths of 22 Hindus, 23 Muslims and one other, while injuries were caused to 77 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others. Police seized large number of swords, choppers, tube lights, fire balls, soda water bottles, iron bars, guptis and also one country made revolver. The situation was very grave in several jurisdictional areas. Even normally law-abiding citizens seemed gripped by the communal frenzy and were seen attacking members of the rival community. Peace committee members, politicians and other social workers were conspicuous by their absence. Communal hatred and fear psychosis appeared to have overtaken the citizens of Bombay making tolerance and reason prime casualties. Rumours about attacks from rival community swept the city.

11 January 1993

i) The situation continued to be serious. Fifty–two police stations were affected by communal violence in varying degrees. Eighty–six cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in the death of 11 Hindus, 44 Muslims and one other; 23 Hindus, 58 Muslims and one other were injured. Four Hindus, 19 Muslims and two others were killed in 129 incidents of mob violence in different jurisdictions. Ninety–three cases of arson in different jurisdictions resulted in the death of two Hindus and 12 Muslims and injuries to seven Muslims. Police firing on 67 occasions caused to deaths of 19 Hindus and seven Muslims and injuries to 45 Hindus, 21 Muslims and two others. The army column was used for operational duty in Dadar jurisdiction where it fired on a riotous mob of Hindus without causing any injuries.

ii) Police raids unearthed several swords, knives, choppers, kerosene bottles, acid bulbs, tube lights, one country made revolver and live cartridges.

12 January 1993

i) A gruesome incident occurs in Devipada in Kasturba Marg jurisdiction. A Hindu mob surrounds, strips and assaults two Muslim women. The older woman manages to run away. The uncle of the younger woman who comes to rescue the young girl of 19, and that girl, are beaten and burnt alive by the violent mob. The names of the miscreants are disclosed to police by a Hindu lady in the locality. (Though the miscreants were arrested and tried by the Sessions Court at Bombay, later on they were all acquitted on the ground that the panchanamas were defective and that the eye–witnesses were not produced).

ii) Police resorted to firing on 31 occasions in different jurisdictions resulting in the deaths of four Hindus and six Muslims and injuries to 23 Hindus and seven Muslims. Fifty–six cases of stabbing occurred in different areas resulting in the deaths of three Hindus, 27 Muslims and injuries to 11 Hindus and 41 Muslims. Seventy–one cases of mob violence in different areas occurred in which one Hindu and six Muslims were killed; nine Hindus and 21 Muslims were injured. Seventy cases of arson were reported from different police stations, in which two Muslims were killed and one Muslim was injured.

iii) The army column, detailed to rescue a group of besieged Muslims in Antop Hill jurisdiction is attacked by a violent Hindu mob, resorts to firing to disperse the mob. Army column resorts to firing within the jurisdiction of Trombay jurisdiction against another rioting mob of Hindus killing one Hindu and injury to one.

13 January 1993

i) The situation improves slightly in several areas; the number of affected police stations comes down to 48; stabbing cases to 36; mob violence to 67 and arson to 51. The police resort to firing on 24 occasions resulting in the killing of one Hindu and two Muslims and injuries to six Hindus and four Muslims. Mob violence takes a toll of the lives of three Muslims and injures eight Hindus and 18 Muslims. Stabbings cause the death of one Hindu and 16 Muslims, while eight Hindus and 10 Muslims and one other are injured. Arson kills five Muslims and two others and causes injuries to four Muslims, apart from destruction of property.

14 January 1993

i) The situation shows substantial improvement. The number of affected police stations comes down to 40, the number of arson cases drops to 39, in which one Hindu and five Muslims were killed apart from loss to property; mob violence is reported only in 34 cases in which one Muslim and three others are killed and seven Muslims are injured; the police resort to firing only on four occasions in which no one is killed and two Hindus are injured. Stabbing cases resulted in death of four Hindus and 12 Muslims and three others, while seven Hindus, 12 Muslims and one other are injured. The deployment of army columns is increased to 35.

15 January 1993

i) There is further improvement in the situation; the number of police stations affected comes down to 29; mob violence occurs only in 24 cases resulting in death of two Muslims and four Hindus and injuries to eight Muslims. The number of stabbing cases comes down to 12 in which one Hindu and 11 Muslims are killed and three Hindus and five Muslims are injured; the number of arson cases comes down to 25 in which there was only loss of property without death or injury to anyone. The police resort to firing only on two occasions which result in killing of three Muslims, one Hindu and injuries to 14 Muslims. Army column deployed at Nirmal Nagar resorts to firing to quell a riotous mob.

ii) The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narsimha Rao, makes a quick tour of the riot affected areas amidst heavy security arrangements.

16 January 1993

i) The situation shows further improvement. Only 15 stray cases of stabbing are reported in which 12 Muslims are killed and injuries caused to eight Hindus and seven Muslims. Seven mob violence cases occur resulting in injury to one Muslim; 23 stray cases of arson are reported in different areas in which there is only property loss. Police firing comes down to two cases in which none is injured.

17 January 1993

i) The situation seems to be improving for the better. There is no occasion for the police to resort to firing. Three cases of stabbing are reported from different areas in which one Hindu and two Muslims were injured; three minor cases of mob violence occur causing injuries to five Hindus and thirteen Muslims; and six minor cases of arson reported in which, apart from loss of property, one Muslim is killed and one Hindu is injured.

18 January 1993

i) There was no occasion on which police resorted to firing on this day. There was one case of stabbing resulting in the killing of one Muslim, three minor cases of mob violence in which none was injured; five stray minor cases of arson were reported in which none was injured.

19 January 1993

i) The city appears to be limping back to normalcy. Five stray cases of stabbing are reported in which one Muslim was killed and two Hindus and two Muslims were injured. Though nine stray cases of arson are reported, there was no loss of life or injury.

The period subsequent to 20 January 1993

i) From 20 January 1993 onwards

there was no major communal incident despite a few stray cases being reported. The rumour mills worked overtime and rumours about imminent attacks and explosions likely to occur were thick. Call was given out by Imam of Jama Masjid that Muslims should boycott the Republic Day and hoist black flags on their establishments and houses. Police maintained continued vigil along with the army and para–military forces.

ii) On 25 January 1993, there is a minor riot in Dharavi jurisdiction which is quickly controlled by police firing without any death or injury.

iii) 26 January 1993 passed off peacefully in all jurisdictions except Dindoshi where the police resorted to firing in which two Muslims were killed and three Muslims were injured; mob violence caused injuries to two policemen and two Muslims.

iv) During the subsequent period in January the situation in the city slowly comes back to normalcy.

Total number of deaths

Dead — 900 (575 Muslims, 275 Hindus, 45 unknown and 5 others). The causes for the deaths are police firing (356), stabbing (347), arson (91), mob action (80), private firing (22) and other causes (4).

Justice B.N. Srikrishna Commission

Justice Srikrishna, then a relatively junior Judge of the Bombay High Court, accepted the task of investigating the causes of the riots, something that many of his colleagues had turned down[citation needed]. For five years until 1998, he examined victims, witnesses and alleged perpetrators. Detractors came initially from left-secular quarters who were wary of a judge who was a devout and practicing Hindu[4]. The Commission was disbanded by the Shiv Sena led government in January 1996 and on public opposition was later reconstituted on 28 May 1996; though when it was reconstituted its terms of reference were extended to include the Mumbai bomb blasts that followed in March 1993.

The report of the commission stated that the tolerant and secular foundations of the city were holding even if a little shakily. Justice Srikrishna indicted those he alleged as largely responsible for the second phase of the bloodshed and to some extent the first, the Shiv Sena.

The report was criticized as “politically motivated”. For a while, its contents were a closely guarded secret and no copies were available. The Shiv Sena government rejected its recommendations. Since under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, an Inquiry is not a court of law (even if it conducts proceedings like a court of law) and the report of an inquiry is not binding on Governments, Srikrishna's recommendations cannot be directly enforced. To date, the recommendations of the Commission have neither been accepted nor acted upon by the Maharashtra Government.[citation needed] Many indicted policemen were promoted by the government and indicted politicians continue to hold high political office even today.[citation needed]

On 10 July 2008, a Mumbai court sentenced former Shiv Sena MP Madhukar Sarpotdar and two other party activists to a year's rigorous imprisonment in connection with the riots.[2] However, he was immediately granted bail.[5] He died on 20 February 2010 without serving his sentence.[6]

In film

The riots are portrayed in several different films. They form an important part of the plot of the film Bombay in which the protagonists, a Muslim wife and her Hindu husband, are separated during the riots. The 2004 Hindi film Black Friday deals with the events leading to the riots and the aftermath which led to the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, and related investigations, told through the different stories of the people involved — police, conspirators, victims, middlemen. The violence is also an instrumental part of the plot of the film Slumdog Millionaire. The protagonist, Jamal Malik's mother is among those killed in the riots, and he later remarks "If it wasn't for Rama and Allah, we'd still have a mother."[7] It was also shown in 2010 movie Striker, and another movie called Fiza.


  1. ^ R. Padmanabhan (15 August 1998). "The Shiv Sena indicted". Frontline. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Former Sena MP sentenced". The Hindu. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b ERCES Online Quarterly Review Religious Identity of the Perpetrators and Victims of Communal Violence in Post-Independence India
  4. ^ Mehta, Suketu (2004). Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. Alfred A Knopf. p. 81. ISBN 0-375-40372-8. 
  5. ^ "Former Shiv Sena leader Sarpotdar convicted in Mumbai for inciting violence in 1992". ANI. 9 July 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Sena leader Madhukar Sarpotdar dies". DNA. 20 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Arthur J Pais (9 September 2008). "Oscar buzz for Anil Kapoor-starrer". Rediff. Retrieved 12 February 2010. (a critique of Indian and Western interpretative techniques).

  • Praveen Swami, "A welter of evidence: How Thackeray and Co. figure in the Srikrishna Commission Report", 17(16) FRONTLINE (Aug. 5-18, 2000), available at (examining the Justice Srikrishna Commission's indictment of Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena).
  • Draupadi Rohera, "The sacred space of Justice Srikrishna", Sunday Times (Aug. 16, 1998) (discussing Justice Srikrishna's Hindu beliefs and his work with the Commission).
  • Suketu Mehta, "Maximum City: Bombay lost and found", (2004), Part I Ch. II.

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