New Delhi 31st Aug 2019: The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has expressed dismay at the biases of police force towards the Muslim community in the country which has come to the fore following a recent study—Status of Policing in India Report—brought out by Lokniti, CSDS and Common Cause. SDPI national general secretary Mohammad Shafi in a statement said that the report exposes bias in minds of cops against Muslims. It is very unfortunate and explains how deep the communal prejudice is prevalent.

Shafi pointed out that at an all-India level, 15.8% of all convicts were Muslims as compared to their population share of 14.2%; and in the case of under-trials, and the proportion of Muslims was an even higher 20.9%. In certain states, this ratio was a lot more adverse. In Maharashtra, for instance, while 12% of the population was Muslim, 20% of all convicts—and 30% of all under-trials—were Muslim; in Gujarat, Muslims were 10% of the population versus 21% of all convicts, and 22% of all under-trials. In Uttar Pradesh, the figures were 19%, 19% and 27%, respectively; it was 27%, 42% and 47% in the case of West Bengal.

He expressed his deep anguish at the fact of the report which states that around half of the 12,000 police personnel surveyed across 21 states believed that Muslims are “naturally prone”, in degrees varying from “very much” to “somewhat”, to committing criminal acts. The bias was strongest in northern and central India, with an average of 63% of the police personnel in eight states in this region—Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand—believing that followers of Islam naturally have a criminal disposition.

Shafi said given the arrest of innocent Muslims may certainly be a factor in aggravating communal polarisation; this is an issue the government needs to look at quite seriously, apart from the fact that it makes a mockery of legal and constitutional equality. Until and unless the mindset of Indian policemen becomes unbiased and their outlook towards Muslims changes positively the factor of polarisation in society fuelled by vested political outfits cannot be arrested, he added.