One in two police personnel surveyed feel that Muslims are likely to be “naturally prone” to committing crimes, the 2019 Status of Policing in India Report has found.
It also found that 35 per cent of police personnel interviewed for the survey think it is natural for a mob to punish the “culprit” in cases of cow slaughter, and 43 per cent think it is natural for a mob to punish someone accused of rape.
The report on police adequacy and working conditions, prepared by the NGO Common Cause and Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, was released on Tuesday by former Supreme Court judge J Chelameswar.
Spread across 21 states, the survey involved interviews of 12,000 police personnel in police stations and around 11,000 of their family members.
The survey found that 37 per cent personnel interviewed feel that for minor offences, a small punishment should be handed out by the police rather than a legal trial. It found that 72 per cent police personnel experience “political pressure” during investigation of cases involving influential persons.
“One committed officer can make all the difference. But who will put that one officer there,” Justice Chelameswar said. He also narrated his experiences as a judge in dealing with cases where the police had sidestepped the rules.
“What is the training we give our officers? (A) six-month crash course on civil and Criminal Procedure Codes, the (Indian) Penal Code and the Evidence Act cannot be deemed sufficient,” he said. Speaking about the need to insulate police personnel from political influence, the retired judge said: “Transfer as a form of punishment for displeasing someone is a problem. Even judges, who hold Constitutional posts, are not protected from undue transfers.”
In October last year, the Delhi High Court in its landmark judgment on the Hashimpura massacre case relied on the 2018 edition of the Status of Policing in India Report to establish institutional bias of the police force against Muslims to convict 16 policemen for killing 42 people in 1987. The trial court had acquitted the policemen for lack of motive.
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