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Forms of Collective Violence: Riots, Pogroms, and Genocide in Modern India

This collection of essays focus on the various forms of collective violence that have occurred in India during the past six decades, which include riots, pogroms, and genocide. It is argued that these various forms of violence must be understood not as spontaneous outbreaks of passion, but as productions by organized groups. Moreover, it is also evident that government and its agents do not always act to control violence, but often engage in or permit gratuitous acts of violence against particular groups under the cover of the imperative of restoring order, peace, and tranquility. This has certainly been the case in numerous incidents of collective violence in India where curfew restrictions have been used for just such purposes. In this context, secularism constitutes a countervailing practice, and a set of values that are essential to maintain balance in a plural society where the organization of intergroup violence is endemic, persistent, and deadly.