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The 1980 Moradabad riots refers to violence that happened in the Indian city of during August–November 1980. The violence was partly a Hindu-Muslim conflict, and partly a Muslim-Police conflict. It started when a group of Muslims pelted stones at the local police for their refusal to remove a pig from the local Idgah on 13 August. The police responded with indiscriminate firing, which led to over one hundred deaths. This was followed by a series of violent incidents which became religious in nature, and led to arson, looting and murders.
The violent incidents continued until November 1980. The total death tally is uncertain: the government recognized and paid compensation for 400 deaths, while the unofficial estimates run as high as 2500. The riots greatly affected the city's noted industry, which saw a sharp decline in the production and export figures.
Moradabad has a history of Hindu-Muslim riots; the first such riot occurred in 1848, followed by another one in 1872. In the 1880s, there were more Hindu voters in the city. However, the Muslim secretary of the Municipality always in such a way that Hindus were concentrated in one ward, while the Muslims had the majority in the remaining five wards. As a result, the Muslims always had the majority in the municipal body. Following protests by the Hindus, the ward boundaries were re-drawn and the Hindus gained majority in the municipality. Both the communities used their administrative power to assert their religious interests, leading to communal animosity.
In the 1930s, the , which demanded a separate country for Muslims, gained popularity in Moradabad. The local leader and lawyer Qazi Taslim Husain turned the Islamic Musafir Khana near the Moradabad railway station into a center for separatist politics in the city. The Hindu organizations and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) organized akharas in the city, campaigning against the Muslims. Following the , widespread riots broke out in the city in January 1948. Again in 1978, Hindu-Muslim violence broke out in Sambhal (then part of the Moradabad district).
The tensions between Hindus and Muslims had been running high since the kidnap of a girl by some Muslims in March 1980. The Dalits and Muslims used to live in separate bastis (colonies) near an Idgah. The girl was later rescued, and her kidnapper was arrested. In July, on the day of her marriage to a Dalit boy, some Muslims obstructed the complaining about loud music near the mosque. The argument soon escalated into a violent clash between the two communities, followed by looting of several houses.
On 13 August 1980, a domesticated pig from the Dalit colony strayed into the Idgah during the . Around 50,000 Muslims were attending Eid Miladun Nabi prayers at the location. The Muslims, who considered the pigs as haraam, believed that the pig had been deliberately released by the Hindu Dalits. They asked an on-duty policeman to chase the pig away, but he refused to do so, leading to a heated argument. The violence broke out when some Muslims pelted stones at the policemen. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) collapsed when a stone hit his forehead, and the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) DP Singh was dragged away by some people; he was found dead later. The policemen then started firing indiscriminately into the crowd. The police force was reinforced by the (PAC) troops that arrived in trucks along with the District Magistrate. Several Muslims were killed in the firing; about 50 more lost their lives in a that followed the firing. The Muslim leader later compared the firing to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
The surviving Muslim crowd at the Idgah soon turned into a mob, and indulged in mass looting and arson of the Dalit . The Muslim mobs beat up the policemen in different localities of the city. They burnt a PAC constable to death. In the evening, a Muslim mob attacked the Galshaheed police chowki (outpost), setting it on fire, killing two policemen and looting the arms. This was followed by violent reprisals by the police.
On the next day, 14 August, the Jamaat-e-Islami organized a gathering of the Muslim leaders from the various political parties, and issued a statement condemning the riots.Subsequently, the violence acquired a religious nature and spread to the rural areas of the . The violence also spread to the neighbouring city of . The army troops were posted in the region to control the violence. By September 2, the situation in Moradabad was brought under control, and the army started withdrawing.
The violence continued on a smaller scale until November 1980. A major incidence of violence occurred in September, on the day of the Hindu festival Raksha Bandhan. At the end of October, a series of stabbings and killings resulted in at least 14 deaths
The riots happened during the chief ministership of the leader . The Union Minister Yogendra Makwana blamed the violence on the RSS, and Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP). The Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
suggested that "foreign forces" (referring to ) and "communal parties" were behind the violence. The editor Girilal Jain stated that the "anti-social elements" among the Muslims
were partly responsible for the violence, and criticized the Muslim leaders for
not admitting to the facts and instead blaming the RSS. He also gave credence
to Indira Gandhi's "foreign hand" theory, and published an article
listing the number of Pakistani visitors to Uttar Pradesh. The BJP leader blamed the Muslim organizations for the violence. The
government appointed Justice Saxena of the to investigate the riots. The Justice Saxena report, submitted in
May 1983, indicted Muslim leaders and V. P. Singh for the violence.