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82,190 Muslim prisoners in jails across India by 2014

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New Delhi: As many as 82,190 Muslim prisoners are lodged in different jails across the country by the end of 2014, Rajya Sabha was told on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said that as per data compiled by National Crime Records Bureau, at the end of 2014, there were 82,190 Muslim prisoners of which 21,550 were convicts, 59,550 were undertrials, 658 detainees and 432 other prisoners.

“As per data compiled by NCRB for 2014, the percentage of convicted Muslim prisoners to the total convicted prisoners was 16.38 percent and the percentage of Muslim undertrial prisoners to the total undertrial prisoners was 21.05 percent,” he said replying to a written question.

An Indian Express report “Most Prisoners in India Are Muslims, BCs: NCRB” by Rohan Premkumar says:

“In India, you are more likely to be lodged in prison if you are a Muslim, or belong to the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Communities (OBC), reveal statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Though Muslims comprise only 14.2 percent of the total population of the country according to a recent census data, they constitute 26.4 percent of the prison population.

Moreover, 60.3 percent of all inmates are classified as belonging to the OBC, SC and ST communities. ‘Other’ communities constitute the remaining of the prison population. OBCs and STs constitute 38.1 percent of all ‘detenues’. Detenues are persons detained in prison on the orders of a competent authority under relevant preventative detention laws.

“Prisoners’ Data

Total Prisoner Population                    4.18 lakhs

Percentage of Hindus                           63.6

Percentage of Muslims                         26.4

Percentage of Sikhs                             2.3

Percentage of Christians                     5.85

Other Religions                                  1.65

“While “Muslims constitute around 30 percent of all prisoners, in the ‘pre-trial phase’, the number of convicted Muslim prisoners stand at only 16.4 per cent.

“Activists point out that the last statistics clearly points to a ‘prejudiced’ police system across the country, where minorities are ‘targeted’ by the law enforcement agency.

“Speaking to Express, A Marx, a human rights activist and Chairperson, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, said that the criminal justice system was inherently prejudiced against members of the backward communities and Muslims.

 “Since 1980, it has been established that Muslim men are being detained unjustly by the police. There have been demands to establish fast-track courts to deal with Muslim undertrial prisoners, where those found innocent are provided compensation, and officers who make wrongful arrests are punished immediately,” Marx said.

“Senior leader of the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, M H Jawahirullah, spoke of incidents over the last few years, including the Malegaon blasts in 2008, where young Muslim men were picked up on suspicion by Anti-Terror Squad personnel, before being released after finding that the blasts were in fact masterminded and carried out by Hindu fundamentalists.

“Just because the statistics show that more Muslims are in prison does not necessarily mean that members of the community are prone to be criminals. Muslims are also the targets of biased police officers,” he said.”

And when the high-profile terror cases are involved, Muslims are more likely to be hanged. The attacker on the Parliament has been hanged, while the killers of Former Prime Minister Rajeeva Gandhi have not only not been hanged but are waiting for an early release. Yakub Memon has already been hanged and the other Muslims involved in Mumbai attacks and other such cases are likely to be “brought to justice” by Indian legal system sooner than later. But the persons responsible for the riots after Babri Masjid and Mumbai and Gujarat riots are nowhere in queue for being “brought to justice”.

The writing on the wall is clear: if Muslims are the victims and Hindus culprits, the law will give a justice favouring the culprits; if Hindus are victims and Muslims culprits, the law will favour the victims. And even if the Muslims accused are finally freed by the court, they will already have faced long years of imprisonment and more than normal torture at the hands of the police.

With inputs from Muslim Mirror & PTI

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