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Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India.

It seems reasonably clear that in most of these accounts, Muslims suffer a share of the losses that is entirely out of proportion to their population representation ðthough there are instances running the other way, 724 journal of political economy This content downloaded from on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 10:18:07 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions as in certain parts of Calcutta during the 1992 riots, such as MetiabruzÞ. That is not particularly surprising as Muslim populations are generally minorities, and implicit political or police support for Hindu rioters has often been alleged. Drawing on the ninth and tenth annual reports of the Minorities’ Commission, Wilkinson ð2004, 30Þ observes that Muslims suffer disproportionately as a result of Hindu-Muslim riots. Hard numbers are difficult to obtain, but of 526 HinduMuslim incidents that occurred from 1985 to 1987 in 10 major states, Muslims ð12% of the populationÞ accounted for 60% of the 443 deaths, 45% of the 2,667 injuries, and 73% of the property damage. Given that Muslims are, as a community, much poorer than Hindus the relative effect of communal riots on Muslims economic life is even greater than these percentages suggest. … The fact that Muslims suffer disproportionate losses in riots and that Muslim businessmen are more often the victims of looting has convinced many scholars and activists that riots are nothing more than a particularly brutal method of protecting Hindu merchants’ market shar