Muslims make up for over 21 per cent of all undertrials lodged in various jails in the country even as their population is just over 14 per cent of the country’s total population, the latest data on prisons by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed.
An analysis of NCRB’s prison data of states with significant Muslim population also revealed that in some states the ratio of percentage of Muslim undertrials in jails to that of the population is almost 2:1.
In states such as West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Muslims have almost double the share in undertrial population in prisons than their actual share in population. In Bengal, where Muslims make up for 27 per cent of the population as per to the 2011 Census, they account for 47 per cent of undertrials in jails. The figure is shocking as it shows that almost half of all undertrials in Bengal are Muslims.
The situation is worse in Maharashtra. With a population share of just 12 per cent, Muslims make up 26 per cent of all undertrials in jails. Gujarat fares just as poorly with Muslims making 23 per cent of all undertrials in the state against a population share of just 10 per cent. In Rajasthan, percentage share of Muslim undertrials in jails (18 per cent) is double their share in the population (9 per cent). Jharkhand and UP, both with sizeable Muslim population, have disproportionate Muslim representation in jails.
While the minority political outfits often blame police bias, sociologists cite poor socio-economic condition of Muslims as one of the reasons.
In north India, Bihar fared well. With a significant population of Muslims at 17 per cent, the state had 18 per cent jail inmates from the community.
Kerala was the only Hindu-majority state with a significant Muslim population that bucked the trend. Against a Muslim population of 27 per cent, the state had only 23 per cent undertrials coming from the community.
In Karnataka, the representation of Muslim undertrials in jails (13 per cent) was exactly proportional to their population.
Andhra Pradesh (united) had 15 per cent Muslim undertrials in jail against 10 per cent share in the population. The data also showed Delhi and Madhya Pradesh in poor light. With 13 per cent Muslims in Delhi, the community accounted for 22 per cent in jail. In MP, with a share of 7 per cent in population, Muslims made up for 13 per cent of all undertrials in the state.