More cops in India, but share of Muslims falls

Police
In the six and a half years since Justice Rajinder Sachar submitted his report on the socio-economic condition of Muslims, the representation of the community has fallen in the police forces of about a third of India's 35 states and union territories.

A majority of the states in which the percentage of Muslims in the police was smaller in 2012 than in 2007 are now ruled by the Congress: Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Mizoram.

In its report submitted in November 2006, the Sachar committee pointed to the poor representation of Muslims in the police force. The government subsequently reaffirmed its commitment to increasing their share. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that this has not happened.

In 2007, there were 1.01 lakh Muslims in the country's police — 7.55 per cent of what was then a 13.4 lakh strong force. By 2012, the force had grown over 24 per cent to 16.7 lakh, but 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 in these five years, only 7,132, or 2.18 per cent, were Muslim. The number of Muslims in the police had increased from 1.01 lakh to 1.08 lakh. 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.

The worst performing states on this count have been Rajasthan and Assam, where the number of Muslim police personnel fell in absolute terms by 56 per cent during 2007-12. Assam, nearly 31 per cent of whose population is Muslim, had 2,388 Muslim police personnel in 2012, making up just about 4 per cent of the force. There were only 871 Muslims in the Rajasthan police in 2012.

BJP-ruled Gujarat and Chhattisgarh showed similar trends. The decline in Gujarat was 32.74 per cent, falling to 3,047 in 2012 from 4,530 in 2007. Tamil Nadu and Puducherry too showed decline.

On the other hand, Jharkhand and Haryana have shown the best numbers — growth of 93.16 per cent and 91.13 per cent respectively. Uttar Pradesh (37.98 per cent), Maharashtra (39.71 per cent), Tripura (24.11 per cent) and West Bengal (15.36 per cent) too have scored well in terms of improving the Muslim representation in the police.

Experts said the numbers may be seen as amounting to a case for reservation for Muslims in the police.

"The implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations on recruitment is up to the state government and it falls in the realm of affirmative action. The lack of a quota means they are not getting their due place. Increasing polarisation in society and the police means that today they stand a smaller chance of getting selected for police jobs," Dr Vijay Raghavan of the Centre for Criminology and Justice at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences said.

The Maharashtra Police says religion is not considered in recruitments. "The only quota that we adhere too is the one that is laid down by law. The police does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of his religion when it recruits," additional DGP (Establishment) S C Mathur said.

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