NEW DELHI: Almost one in two Muslims in India fears being falsely implicated in terrorism cases, and Telangana leads all states in the country with 68% of Muslims there having such fear. The southern state is followed by the National Capital – Delhi with 65% such Muslims, says a survey conducted by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti, a research initiative of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
Moreover, more than any other religious community, Muslims (26%) face police discrimination on the grounds of religion, followed by Hindus (18%) and Christians (16%). According to the survey, Bihar is on top in religious discrimination by police with Muslims. In the north Indian state where Muslims account for more than 16% of the state population, 56% Muslims say the Police discriminate on the basis of religion. Bihar is followed by Maharashtra.
The surveyors talked to 15,563 respondents across 22 states in June and July 2017. The 220-page report titled Status of Policing in India Report 2018 was released in May this year.
Besides Muslims, Dalits and Tribals also face false implication and discrimination by police.
False Implication of Muslims
Three major vulnerable communities – Muslims, Dalits and Tribals – fear being falsely implicated by police. As per the survey, 47% of Muslims say they fear being falsely implicated in terror cases while 27% of overall respondents said that Muslims are falsely implicated in terror cases by police.
Some 68% Muslims in Telangana say that they fear being falsely implicated in terror cases while 65% of Muslims in Delhi have the same fear. At No. 3 is Tamil Nadu with 63%, followed by Maharashtra with 62%.
In the last 20 years, Telangana (earlier Andhra Pradesh), Delhi and Maharashtra have witnessed arrest of hundreds of Muslim youths following terror blasts, but after years in jail, most of them were acquitted by the court.
False Implication of Dalits and Tribals
The surveyors asked people to share their views on the false implication of Dalits in petty crimes and Adivasis on Maoist charges.
“Nearly two in every five (38%) respondents agreed with the proposition that often the police falsely implicates members of backward castes such as Dalits in petty crimes such as theft, robbery, dacoity etc,” says the report.
An examination of state-wise opinion suggests that Muslims in Telangana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka, Dalits in Jharkhand, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh and Adivasis in Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal were most likely to hold the opinion that their respective communities are falsely implicated by the police than their counterparts in other States.
Discrimination by Police on Religious Grounds
As per the survey, about one in every five (19%) of respondents said that discrimination by police on religious grounds does take place while three in every five (61%) denied its occurrence.
“Among all religious communities Muslims were most likely to hold the view that the police discriminates on religious grounds with one in four (26%) of them stating so,” says the survey.
Among Hindus, this figure was much less at 18% and among Christians it was 16%. Sikhs (only 6%) were the least likely to hold the opinion that the police engages in religion-based discrimination.
Out of all the States, people’s perception of religious discrimination by the police was found to be greatest in Bihar, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
As for discrimination with Muslims on religious ground, the survey found the belief among the community that the police discriminates on religious grounds to be greatest in Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Other Key Findings of Survey
- 44% respondents reported significant fear of the police/ torture in some form.
- Sikhs, mainly in Punjab, reported the highest levels of fear among religious communities, with 37% saying they were highly fearful of the police (over double the national average).
- People are most likely to report class-based discrimination by the police (51%), followed by gender-based discrimination (30%), caste-based discrimination (26%) and religious discrimination by the police (19%).
- 38% respondents agreed that Dalits were falsely implicated in petty crimes, 28% agreed on false implication of Adivasis on charges of being Maoists, and 27% agreed on false implication of Muslims on terrorism related charges.