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Muslims face issues of 'inclusion' in police force

Monday, July 14, 2014

The ‘secular’ UPA regime registered a dip in the number of Muslim policemen across the nation while Gujarat had the largest number of Muslims posted in police stations, writes Gajanan Khergamker

The latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report indicates during the UPA regime, the police force registered a dip in the number of Muslim policemen across the nation. This, after the UPA regime claimed its government was committed to implementing Sachar panel’s recommendation for better representation of Muslims in the police forces.

Gujarat ‘includes’ most Muslims in its police force
Ironically, Gujarat, a state often pegged as an anti-Muslim state ever since the 2002 Godhra riots, revealed a completely different picture.

An RTI application filed in 2012 revealed that Gujarat, which faced one of the worst anti-Muslim riots in the country, had emerged as the state with the largest number of Muslims posted in police stations, higher than states with larger Muslim populations.

The data, shared by the Home Ministry after an RTI application was filed, revealed that 10.6 per cent of Gujarat’s cops posted in police stations were Muslims. This, in 2012, was higher than the proportion of Muslims in the state’s population, which was 9.1 per cent according to 2001 census. According to the details provided by the Home Ministry, the state had 5,021 cops from the community out of a total of 47,424 in its 501 police stations. Based on this data, on an average, Gujarat accounted for 10 Muslim cops per police station.

Instead of ensuring a minimum number of Muslim policemen in the force across the nation, the share of the minority community has fallen to an all-time new low of 6.2 per cent in 2013.

This marks a decline in the total percentage of Muslim representation in the force from the 6.5 per cent Muslim component in all-India police in 2012, 6.52 per cent in 2011 and 6.9 per cent in 2010. The 2005 Rajinder Sachar Committee had recommended deploying at least one senior Muslim officer in each police station in Muslim-dominant areas along with few other suggestions.

In definitive numeric terms, the number of Muslims in police forces across the country dropped down to 1,08, 602 in 2013 from 1,08,975 in 2012. This is according to latest data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Data gives skewed picture of actual ground reality
And, this only gives a skewed picture of the ground reality. Of the 1,08,602 Muslims serving in police forces all over the country in 2013, a total of 41,089 were from Jammu & Kashmir alone. So, if we exempt J&K from statistics, the share of Muslims in all-India police would be barely 4.07 per cent. 

As per 2001 and 2011 census figures, the share of Muslims in the country’s total population stood at 13.4 per cent and 13.43 per cent respectively.

A state-wise break-up of the number of Muslims in the police department gives a clearer picture of the state that needs to introduce steps to even out this skewed situation. So, according to the data for 2013, Andhra Pradesh, with nine per cent, stands first in the list followed by Kerala with 8.6 per cent and then West Bengal which has a total of 8.5 per cent of Muslims in its police department.
 
States with maximum Muslim population fare badly
The concerning fact is that many states with significant Muslim population like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar lagged behind with 5.1 per cent and 3.95 per cent representation for the community in their respective police department. Muslims constituted barely one per cent of Rajasthan police and the national capital ranked low with just 1.9 per cent representation for the community in its police.

Over the years, although the strength of the police force, all over the nation has increased, the representation of Muslim community in the force seems to be slipping further. In 2007, there were 1.01 lakh Muslims in the nation’s police which comes around 7.55 per cent of what was then a 13.4 lakh strong force.

Police forces grows, Muslim representation declines
In the next five years, till 2012, even though the force had grown by over 24 per cent to reach to a whopping 16.7 lakh, the Muslim representation had actually fallen by one percentage point to 6.5 per cent.

In absolute numbers, of the 3.26 lakh policemen added across all states and union territories from 2007 to 2012, only 7,132, or a mere 2.18 per cent, were Muslim.

The number of Muslims in the police had increased from 1.01 lakh to 1.08 lakh but the increase was not on par in keeping with the rest. As per the 2001 census, Muslims made up 13.43 per cent of India’s population.

The Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for welfare of minorities asks states to give special consideration to minorities while recruiting police personnel. But, almost every state failed to keep up with the recommendation.

Rajasthan, Assam are among the worst performers
The worst performing states on this count have almost always been Rajasthan and Assam, where the number of Muslim police personnel fell by 56 per cent during 2007-12. Assam, with 31 per cent of its population belonging to Muslim community, had 2,388 Muslim police personnel in 2012, making up just about four per cent of the force. There were only 871 Muslims in the Rajasthan police in 2012.

Although, Assam and Kerala turned out to be a home for much larger chunk of Muslims and had a higher percentage representing the community in their police forces, Gujarat had higher number of Muslim policemen.

Along with Odisha, Gujarat came out as the only state where the percentage of Muslims in the police force was higher than its corresponding population.

The list, provided by the Ministry included 17 states and six Union Territories (UTs) and did not include states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where Muslim population is 10 per cent or more, since these states reused to share the data with the Ministry at that time.
Reportedly, in 2012 Gujarat had 5,021 Muslim police personnel in its 501 police stations compared to 2,210 Muslim cops in 451 police stations in Kerala, 2,048 in 525 police stations in West Bengal, 930 in 773 police stations in Rajasthan and 616 in 417 police stations in Jharkhand.

When it comes to other states, with much higher Muslim population, a report that came out a few months back, in February 2014, showed only a grim picture.
Data released by the Uttar Pradesh government about the representation of Muslims in the police force was in stark contrast to the tall claims made by the state government and leaders alike.

RTI reveals Uttar Pradesh lags behind too
According to the data, only two per cent Sub-Inspectors (SI), three per cent Head Constables and four per cent Constables in UP Police are Muslims.
This fact came in the light after activist Urvashi Sharma filed an RTI application with the state asking for the details of Muslim representation in the state police force. The reply revealed that till June 3, 2013, the Uttar Pradesh civil police employed 236 Muslim Sub-Inspectors out of total 10,197 which comes to a total of 2.31 per cent; 269 Muslim Head-Constables of a total 8,224 (3.27 per cent) and 4,430 Muslim Constables of a total 1,01,245 (4.37 per cent).
In comparison, the representation of minorities like SC/ST has increased in the state police force. Maybe, the nation will need to make a conscious effort to increase the Muslim representation in the country’s police force.

(With inputs from Prerna Pandey)

More Muslims need representation

  • The data, shared by the home ministry in response to an RTI query filed by TOI, shows that 10.6% of Gujarat's cops posted in police stations are Muslims. This is higher than the proportion of Muslims in the state's population, which is 9.1% (2001 census)
  • Till June 3, 2013 UP civil police employs 236 Muslim Sub-Inspectors out of total 10,197 ( 2.31 per cent); 269 Muslim Head-Constables out of total 8,224 ( 3.27 per cent) and 4,430 Muslim Constables out of total 1,01,245 total (4.37 per cent), the reply said.
  • Muslims in the police forces, the share of the minority community has fallen rapidly to touch a new low of 6.2 per cent in 2013. This marks a decline from the 6.5 per cent Muslim component in all-India police in 2012, 6.52 per cent in 2011 and 6.9 per cent in 2010.
  • A statewise break-up of Muslims in the police force shows that while Andhra Pradesh (9%), Kerala (8.6%) and West Bengal (8.5%) led the pack in 2013, many states with significant Muslim population like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar lagged behind with 5.1% and 3.95% representation for the community in their respective police.

Readers keen on seeking help on drafting RTI applications may write in to rti@draftcraft.in or call Gajanan Khergamker on 022-22841593 for any assistance on RTI or to have their findings / issue featured on this page

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