Amidst all the shouting about Muslim appeasement in India, even justified demands of a minority get ignored. 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 one of the most crucial indicator of empowerment and equality – the police forces in various states in India. The indicator of ‘Muslims in Indian Police Force’ is important as it makes or breaks the safety perception among any community, and is the first step towards empowerment and equality in the eyes of the State (the nation). On this a bit later. Right now the declining share of muslims in Indian Police Force data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Share of Muslims in Indian Police Declining:
According to the latest date from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)of about a third of India’s 35 states and union territories, the share of muslims in Indian Police is on a decline.
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. If the share of a community in any force can be increased with consistent sincere efforts, it may be assumed that the apathy of previous governments in a state, will reflect in the succeeding ones.
In 2007, there were 1.01 lakh Muslims in the Indian police. This constituted for 7.55 per cent of then 13.4 lakh police force. By 2012, the force had grown 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 data points that the worst faring states belong to both the Congress and the BJP. Below is the List of Worst faring states in decreasing order of performance, in terms of decline during 2007-12 period:
Rajasthan ___________56 percent
Assam ___________56 percent (4 percent muslims in Assam are in Police Force)
Gujarat ___________ 32.74 percent (falling to 3,047 in 2012 from 4,530 in 2007)
Chhattisgarh ___________ Same decline as Gujarat
Tamil Nadu and Puducherry too showed decline.
Best faring states:
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.
Why the declining share of Muslims in Indian police an issue of concern?
Many experts are of the view that the declining numbers of muslims in Indian Police may be seen as a ground for reservation for Muslims in the police. The reservation becomes even more necessary, when the implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations on recruitment is up to the state government.
Now, reservation is not bad everywhere. Particularly, it’s not bad when one talks of Police force.
The provision of giving minorities and ethnic groups adequate representation in police force means that their rights (protection of body, community, freedom of expression etc.) will be protected in an increasingly polarised India. Let I give you an example.
In early 90s, during Uttarakhand State agitation days, the Uttarakhand State agitationists en route to Delhi were stopped by Uttar pradesh Police and were mercilessly beaten, killed and assaulted. Since the ethnicity of Uttarakhand people is different from the people UP Police Constabulary, officers and UP Government; hence all sorts of intimidating measures were reported to be used — Cane, bricks, assault etc. Had the constitution of police then have some adequate representation of Uttarakhand ethnicity; the atrocities would have been much less.
Exactly similar thing happened during Anti Sikh riots in Delhi and Anti muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002. Had the police force at that time, had more muslims and Sikhs, the loss of human lives and property could have been minimised.
Hence it’s important we see the adequate representation of minorities (sikhs, christians, non-privileged etc. ) in Indian Police a necessary act.
Sachar Committee recommendation in this regard:
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.