New Delhi, India: Displaying “significant bias against Muslims” half of the police personnel interviewed for a study feel Muslims are “naturally prone towards committing crimes”.
Unfortunately, the report also found one in three police staff felt mob violence in cases of cow slaughter was “natural”. 12,000 police personnel in 21 Indian states were surveyed for the study.
The report was published at a time when the United Nations and human rights groups have expressed concerns over an increase in harassment of and violence against India’s Muslim minority after the Modi-led BJP government assumed power in 2014.
It must be noted that dozens of people, mostly Muslims, have been killed by vigilante mobs on allegations of eating beef or slaughtering cows during the past few years.
As reported by Al-Jazeera the study, titled ‘The Status of Policing in India Report: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions’, found 14 percent of personnel surveyed believed Muslims were “very much likely” to be prone to committing crimes, while 36 percent felt members of the faith were “some-what likely” to do so.
The report added, “Thirty-five percent personnel feel (to a large extent and somewhat combined) that it is natural for a mob to punish the culprit in case of cow slaughter.”
Expressing surprise over the findings, Manjesh Rana, one of the researchers on the year-long survey said, “Some of the findings were very surprising.” He added “we believe that this could be the perception of the people but not the perception of the police.”
The report quoted Manjesh Rana as saying, “We can’t really establish that the prejudices they have, whether it’s affecting their work or not but there are always these chances.”
60 percent of those surveyed also believed that migrants from other states were more likely to commit crimes. More than 50 percent felt complaints of gender-based violence were false.
Pressure from politicians was believed to be the main obstacle to investigating crimes by nearly a third of respondents. Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of 72 percent said they encountered “political pressure” in probes involving influential people.
While a third of police personnel surveyed favoured handing out “a small punishment” for minor offences than a legal trial, 1:5 felt “killing dangerous criminals is better than a legal trial”. Four out of five cops believe that there is nothing wrong in the police beating up criminals to extract confessions.”