In what highlights delay in justice and lack of evidence,there were 21.04 per cent Muslim undertrials and 17.75 per cent convicts in the country in 2012.
National Crime Records Bureau data reveal disparity between the rates of detention and conviction of Muslims in 22 states. It was most in Jammu and Kashmir,Uttar Pradesh,Maharashtra,Goa,Assam and Meghalaya. In the remaining 16 of the 22,the difference was medium to low.
The opposite was true of all other communities.
In J&K,there were 1,255 Muslim undertrials (61.55 per cent of the prison population) in 2012. But there were only 155 (39.84 per cent ) Muslim convicts. At 14,707,Muslims accounted for 27.32 per cent of undertrials in UP,which has the most prisoners in the country. The number of Muslim convicts was,however,only 5,365 (20.43 per cent).
Maharashtra showed a similar trend. Its 5,999 Muslim prisoners made 36.52 per cent of the undertrial population and only 28.68 per cent of the convict population.
The Rajinder Sachar Committee report of 2006 had,in fact,pointed out that the representation of Muslims in jails was significantly higher than their share in population.
It was most disproportionate in Gujarat,Maharashtra and Kerala,the report first published in The Indian Express on October 29,2006,said.
In only six states,two of which are in the south,the number of Muslim convicts was higher than that of undertrials belonging to the community. Muslims in Karnataka constituted only 12.57 per cent of undertrials but 23.87 per cent of convicts. In Tamil Nadu,the percentage was 8.29 and 13.72.
Sociologists said since Muslims were a lot more integrated with the mainstream in south India they were not arrested on trumped-up charges.
The social fabric of the south is a bit different. Lumpenisation of the Muslim youth has not happened to that extent there. Since Muslims are more socially integrated in southern societies,communalisation of the police force is not there to that extent, said Abdul Shaban,chairperson,Centre for Public Policy Habitat and Human Development.