India reported 278 communal clashes in the first five months of 2016, according to data released by the home ministry to the Parliament this week.

While 38 deaths were reported in the “incidents”, as they are officially called, 903 people were reported to be injured.

India witnessed 751 communal clashes in 2015, up from 644 in 2014, according to home ministry data.

But if you believe data released by the National Crime Records Bureau – a home ministry subsidiary – there were 1,227 riots in 2014, IndiaSpend reported in December 2015.

The data discrepancy, reported by, a data journalism portal, is important because there has been debate over whether such riots have increased or decreased since Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister in May 2014.

IndiaSpend previously reported how Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are India’s communal tinderboxes.

The northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to nearly 200 million people, reported 247 communal incidents in 2013, declining to 133 in 2014 and rising to 155 in 2015.

In the first five months of 2016, Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – reported 61 communal clashes, more than any other state, according to home ministry data. This was followed by Karnataka (40) and Maharashtra (40).

This article first appeared on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.