Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – Muslim leaders on Thursday have expressed grave concerns over the inherent bias and prejudices police has against Muslims in the country. The phenomenon was uncovered by a joint study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Common Cause, an NGO.
A survey titled ‘The Status of Policing in India Report: Police Adequacy and Working Conditions’ released here by Justice Chamleshwar on Tuesday has found that 50 per cent police personnel believe that Muslims are naturally prone to commit crimes and one in three personnel think that mob lynching is natural justice in the cow slaughter case.
The survey covered on 12,000 police personnel over 21 states.
The issue of prejudices and biases against the minority community in the police personnel was raised by the Muslim leaders and social activists many a time. The study has brought the issue to the fore.
Reacting to the findings of the study, Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission Zafarul Islam Khan said, “The issue of police bias against Muslims was raised earlier too with a demand to sensitise police personnel and make the police system better for minorities. But it seems nothing has been done in this direction. The communal atmosphere created by Hindutva elements is impacting those who were untouched by the virus earlier. It is worrisome that our law and order machinery has such a mindset”.
He urged the government to take notice of this study but said does not expect it will take any step towards this. However, he feels the study has set warning bells ringing for the administration and society.
Pointing out that we have inherited the police system from our colonial masters, but the police today, unlike the police during the Raj days, was meant to serve the people rather than rule over them, he said demand for police reforms has been raised time and again. But whichever party came to power conveniently pushed the issue to the back burner. It’s time the entire society took up the matter.
Navaid Hamid, president of All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawrat (AIMMM), also raised the issue of police reforms. He demanded scrutiny of the political background of the candidates before hiring them for police service.
“We need to understand that the police cadre is largely infected by the communal politics in the country. There is a long history of communal prejudices of the police force. But unfortunately, no effort has been made to ascertain the background of the individual policemen at the time of their recruitment.
“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been infecting the psyche of common man for decades, the police is no exception. We need to go into the reasons behind this mindset,” he averred.
He said the deep-rooted prejudices and bias have shrunk the space for justice, equal opportunities and economic empowerment for Muslims in the country.
Terming the government’s plan to set up the police academy ‘dangerous’, he said there was no need for such an academy. Instead, the government should implement the incriminating report on police bias immediately.