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July 13, 2018
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Why in news?

The ‘Status of Policing in India Report, 2018’ was published recently by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the NGO Common Cause..

What are the highlights?

  • It offers a comprehensive survey of the performance and perceptions of the Indian police.
  • Especially, the relation between Indian Muslims and the police was brought out by the report.
  • Fear - The report highlights that all minorities feared the police more than Hindus.
  • Notably, the apprehension is more acute in the case of Muslims.
  • This is the case even with no reference to lynching of Muslims in the name of cow protection.
  • Cases - The fear is because police often implicates Muslims under false terrorism charges.
  • Indeed, many young Muslims have been in jail for years for this reason, before the judiciary released them.
  • Muslims in Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu increasingly feel that police discriminate on the basis of religion.
  • This may be partly explained by the social profile of the policemen.

How is the Muslim representation in law enforcement agencies?

  • Muslims are dramatically under-represented in the Indian Police Service (IPS).
  • Their share was already lower than 5% in the 1950s.
  • This is less than half the proportion of Muslims in India according to the 1951 census.
  • Their share in the population subsequently increased, reaching nearly 15% in 2011.
  • However, the proportion of Muslims in the IPS decreased, falling below 3% in 2016.
  • It is even as low as 2.5% if Jammu and Kashmir is excluded from the calculation.
  • But the situation is slightly better if policemen at lower levels are taken into account.
  • In this case, Muslims roughly made up 6% of policemen in India.
  • Nevertheless, their strength is on a decreasing trend over the years.
  • Overall, Muslims are underrepresented in law enforcement agencies.
  • But the situation is a little better if the armed services as a whole are accounted.
  • In the army, Muslims made up 2.5% of the people in uniform in 1990-2000.
  • Similar figures are found in the navy and in the air force.
  • There too, the proportion is slightly less in higher ranking categories and more in others.

Why is it significant?

  • The report shows a quasi-absence of the largest minority in a key institution like the police.
  • The fact that Muslims are underrepresented in police increases their vulnerability.
  • Moreover, there is no effort being made to address this situation.
  • The scenario clearly affects the national character of a nation-state.
  • It undermines the idea of a multicultural India enshrined in the Constitution.

 

Source: The Indian Express

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