The requisitioning of property for military installations disrupts local economies, while wartime shortages spur a black market. Communal rioting and massacres in the North indicate the potential for civil war and hasten plans for partition.
The Indian Constitution guarantees the people certain democratic rights and grants some protections against discrimination against the lowest caste "untouchables." The Supreme Court comes into being in 1950. The rise of a massive public sector and complex bureaucratic processes known as the "Permit Raj" leads to institutionalized corruption. Price ceilings contribute to the growing black market.
The army quells several violent religious demonstrations. In the states of Kerala and Bengal, workers stage sieges at several factories. Armed Maoists lead a terror campaign in Bengal. In Muslim-dominated Kashmir, a violent separatist movement gathers strength.
Labor unrest leads to national strikes. Agitation for linguistic and religious separatism intensifies in several states. Tens of thousands of refugees flock to India from East Pakistan, which becomes Bangladesh after a brief but intense war in 1971. The Allahabad High Court invalidates Indira Gandhi's 1971 election.
During a two-year state of emergency, Indira Gandhi's government suspends civil rights and imposes censorship. The Maintenance of Internal Security Act is amended to allow the government to arrest individuals without specifying charges. Tens of thousands of Indira Gandhi's opposition are arrested and jailed.
A rash of caste violence and regional unrest leads to government legislation that places substantial curbs on civil liberties. Conflict culminates in 1984 when Indira Gandhi orders troops to dislodge armed Sikh extremists from the Golden Temple at Amritsar, a Sikh holy shrine. In the ensuing backlash, Indira Gandhi is assassinated. Within days, Hindus retaliate by massacring thousands of Sikhs.
The Sikh militant movement spreads through Punjab, leading to additional legislation against terrorists. Violence and repression escalate in the area. Indian soldiers clash with Tamil militants, and thousands are killed and wounded. Insurgency breaks out as fighting spreads between Kashmiri militant and army troops. Rajiv Gandhi's reputation is sullied by an arms contract kickback scandal.
Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by a Tamil terrorist. Riots in the North follow V.P. Singh's announcement that 27 percent of central government jobs will go to "Backward Classes." Hindu-Muslim conflict intensifies when Hindu extremists demolish a mosque. Corruption in Jammu and Kashmir leads to the dissolution of the state government. Direct presidential rule is declared in 1990 and lasts five years.
The 1996 and 1998 elections are among the fairest in Indian history, but are nevertheless marred by violence at polling stations. Several politicians, including Prime Minister Vajpayee, are charged with corruption. Religious and regional unrest escalates in Gujarat, Assam, and Kashmir despite cease-fires agreed to by some rebel groups.
Religious tensions boil over in Gujarat in 2002, when Hindus massacre Muslims on a large scale in retaliation for an attack on a train of Hindu pilgrims. The Gujarat state government turns a blind eye to anti-Muslim violence. The federal government plans major tax reforms it hopes will reduce fraud and evasion.
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