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There were 822 incidents of communal violence in 2017, a 27.6 percent rise from 2014, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the House that as many as 111 people were killed in these 822 incidents of communal violence; 86 people were killed in 703 such incidents in 2016, compared with 97 deaths in 751 communal clashes in 2015.

The total number of deaths since 2015 adds up to 294.

The number of people killed in the 644 incidents in 2014 was not available.

(According to the home ministry’s reply to the Lok Sabha on February 6, 2018 and February 7, 2017, said an earlier report in Business Standard and news portal TheQuint, while the number of communal incidents from 2014 to 2017 was stated as 2920 – the same as provided to Rajya Sabha by Ahir now, the total number of deaths was also given: 389 killed and 8,890 injured.

Hence the number of deaths in 2014 would turn out to be 95.)

Hansraj Ahir told the House that the responsibility for maintaining law and order and communal harmony and for acting against those who violate them lay primarily with the state and Union territory administrations.

“In order to maintain communal harmony in the country, the Centre assists state governments in a variety of ways like sharing of intelligence, (and) sending alert messages and advisories from time to time on important developments,” he said.

Home ministry sources said the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, had reported the highest number of communal flare-ups over the past three years: 195 in 2017 compared with 162 in 2016 and 155 in 2015.

Congress-ruled Karnataka reported 100 such incidents in 2017, after 101 in 2016 and 105 in 2015. Bihar recorded 85 communal clashes in 2017, after 65 in 2016 and 71 in 2015.

BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh accounted for 60 communal flare-ups in 2017, 57 in 2016 and 92 in 2015 while Gujarat’s figures were 50, 53 and 55 in the corresponding years. Bengal’s figures were 58 in 2017, after 32 in 2016 and 27 in 2015.

No communal violence was reported between 2015 and 2017 from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Goa, Meghalaya, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry or Sikkim.

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