India : gambling on riots

In the indian state of Madhya pradesh, the Chief Minister has accused a most unlikely group of people of triggering communal riots : bookies. At Indore ( one of the main towns of the state), there is a tradition of betting on anything. Recently, because there were protests in the state about the rise in prices, a large number of people have bet on whether a riot will take place or not. “When too many people bet against a riot, bookies will provoke one so that they do not lose money” said a police officer.

Because most of the gamblers have bet against the possibility of a riot, police have arrested over 100 bookies in the main towns and communally sensitive areas of the state. A wise move. In 1992, after the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, bookies, apart from communal outfits, were held responsible for riots in Madhya pradesh. These riots, which occured in different states of Northern India, were among the worst India has seen since its Independance.

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