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“Structural Characteristics of Cities and the Severity of Racial Disorders.”

Of Meerut, where Muslim power loom owners had started to diversify economic activity from cloth weaving and printing into other sectors, such as transport and auto repair, Engineer ð1987, 969Þ writes, “If ½religious zeal is coupled with economic prosperity, as has happened in Meerut, it has a multiplying effect on the Hindu psyche. The ferocity with which business establishments have been destroyed in Meerut bears testimony to this observation. Entire rows of shops belonging to Muslims … were reduced to ashes.” Economic targeting during conflict is not confined to eliminating rival businesses or workers. It can consist in direct attacks on entire localities so as to drive out an ethnic group and affect either housing prices or the opportunity to buy and build. In their analysis of the 2002 Gujarat conflict, Field et al. ð2008Þ study locations in which valuable housing was retained by mill workers in residential colonies when the textile mills shut down: “Once the mills closed, preferential treatment of these lands under the Bombay Rent Control Act implied that residents were granted stronger than average tenancy rights. Since tenancy rights are not transferable on formal real estate markets, mounting tensions between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat led to a territory war rather than segregation in these locations. As tension mounted, acts of violence and intimidation were used to push out residents belonging to the religious minority group” ð509Þ. This is only one of several studies in which housing is implicated as a factor influencing violence. For instance, Das’s ð2000Þ report on the Hindu-Muslim riots in Calcutta in 1992 observes that “it appears that ‘promoters’ played a crucial role in inflaming the riot whose victims … were slum-dwellers. Their obvious aim was to clear the bustees ½or slums for construction projects” ð295Þ. “The expectation was that once such people could be forced to abandon their establishments the realtors would have ‘an easy way to rake in the fast buck’” ð296Þ. “What actually took place in 1992 was a land-grabbing riot under a communal garb” ð301Þ. For more on direct economic targeting in Hindu-Muslim violence