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Report shows police prone to anti-Muslim bias

By Sai Manish
September 17, 2019 12:09 IST
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The worst in this respect was Uttarakhand, where four of five police personnel had this opinion, reports Sai Manish. 

Image used for representational purposes only.

There appears to be a palpable anti-Muslim bias in police in India.

A report released recently by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies stated that half the police officers it surveyed felt that members of the community were "naturally prone towards committing crimes”.

The Status of Policing in India Report 2019 focused on various parameters like the adequacy of police personnel, working hours, availability of resources that helped in carrying out their duties efficiently, gender and caste composition of police forces, and engendered bias of personnel against religious communities.

According to the report, the bias against Muslims was worse in certain states like Uttarakhand, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand where two-thirds of police personnel felt that Muslims were more prone to commit crimes than other communities.

The worst in this respect was Uttarakhand, where four of five police personnel had this opinion.

The survey -- which interviewed 12,000 police personnel in 21 states -- also asked similar questions about various caste groups.

More than a third of all police personnel believed that Dalits were more likely to commit crimes.

The bias against Dalits was most pronounced in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, where half of those participating in the survey felt this way.

A third of those surveyed felt that it was natural for a mob to resort to violence in cases of cow slaughter.

The report painted a grim picture of the resource crunch faced by police forces.

Some of the key findings in this respect were: More than 12 per cent of personnel reported no drinking water at their stations, no clean toilet, and no seating area for the public.

Almost half reported not being able to reach the crime scene for lack of transportation, 42 per cent reported not having access to forensic technology at their stations and just a third of all personnel received any kind of forensic training.

In terms of access to technology, West Bengal and Assam fared the worst -- almost a third reported not having access to computers at police stations.

More than a third of all personnel surveyed experienced an increase in crime in their areas over the last couple of years.

Those who thought crime had increased attributed it to lack of employment and education in their areas.

Almost a third believed political pressure was the biggest hindrance to their investigative capabilities and reported facing pressure from politicians while probing crimes involving influential persons.

Besides, police personnel faced debilitating work conditions.

They worked 14 hours a day on average.

Except for Nagaland, the average daily working hours were anywhere between 11 hours and 18 hours.

None of the personnel got paid for overtime work.

Half of them did not get any weekly off.

A majority of them felt that such working conditions were adversely affecting their physical and mental health.

A fourth of the personnel reported senior police officials often asked them to do their personal and household work.

Most reported being verbally abused by seniors on the job and more than a third said they would leave their job if they were given similar salaries and perks elsewhere.

Police in India were found to be working at just three-fourths of their sanctioned strength.

This gap was starker at senior levels than at constabulary levels.

Only 6 per cent of police personnel reported receiving any form of in-service training.

The vacancies are higher in posts reserved for Dalits, STs, Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and women.

These communities, including women, were less likely to be recruited or posted at officer-level positions.

The report noted: 'While the transfer of SSPs and DIGs in less than two years has declined significantly since 2007, as of 2016, at the all India level 12 per cent officers of these ranks have been transferred in less than two years. The highest proportion of transfers in less than two years was made in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Premature transfers are higher during election years in the states.'

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Sai Manish in New Delhi
Source: source