In schools in the country, the number of Muslims is few. In Government jobs, the number of Muslims is few. The number of Muslim doctors and engineers is few, Muslim leaders and representatives are few. But the number of Muslims in the jails of the country are in higher proportion in comparison to their population. What is the basic reason behind this anamoly? Are the Muslims more adept at robbery, extortion, murder and rape? Do we have any place or organisation in the country which provides training in these criminal activities to Muslims? If not, then why is the number of Muslim prisoners more in the jails on account of different crimes? Why are Muslims always the first suspicious persons in the eyes of the police force?
65 years ago when our country became independent, the common masses in the country believed that the country would now be proceeding in the path of development. The belief was that the Fundamental Rights of the people would be safeguarded; untouchability and inequality would come to an end, the people in the country from different castes and creed would live together as Indians, in brotherhood, and religious hatred would not find a place in the country. These dreams were seen by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and these dreams were the pillars in the framing of the Constitution, but even after 65 years of Independence, it is very painful to see that the politics of inequality has become the fate of our country with riots in the name of religion still very prevalent. The Rights which are provided to the common mass by the Constitution, are being taken into consideration with a lot of bias and in this way, continuous infraction and misinterpretation are being done with the Constitution. Looking at the condition of the Muslims, we can easily estimate the extent to which they have been treated with injustice in the country. Safeguarding the Rights of these people were the primary responsibilities of the Governments, which were elected by the people of the country, but these Governments did not fulfil their duties. The Congress party should be among the first contenders to be blamed for not doing their duties in the country, as this is the party which has been handed the opportunity of making Government the most number of times since Independence. When the allegations against the Congress Party became severe, they made the Sachar Committee 7 years ago, when the Congress led Government of UPA-1 was in power, to find out the situation of the Muslims of the country. The report which came out was shocking and it revealed that the situation of the Muslim community in the country is even worse than that of the Dalits. This report said that the Muslims were lagging behind in the educational, social and economic structure of the country to a large extent.
It was the Sachar Committee which for the first time came out with a conclusion that the ratio of Muslims in jails throughout the country was more than the estimated ratio of Muslims in the country. The estimated proportion for the Muslim community stood at an approximate 12 per cent in the country, whereas the number of Muslims in jails stood a ratio of 22 per cent. In 2006, the Sachar Committee said that the jails of Maharashtra had the most number of Muslims throughout the country, but recent statistics have shown that West Bengal has gained the first spot ahead of Maharashtra, which has taken the second spot in this regard.
It was the Sachar Committee which for the first time came out with a conclusion that the ratio of Muslims in jails throughout the country was more than the estimated ratio of Muslims in the country. The estimated proportion for the Muslim community stood at an approximate 12 per cent in the country, whereas the number of Muslims in jails stood a ratio of 22 per cent. In 2006, the Sachar Committee said that the jails of Maharashtra had the most number of Muslims throughout the country, but recent statistics have shown that West Bengal has gained the first spot ahead of Maharashtra, which has taken the second spot in this regard. According to the recent National Crime Records (till December 2010), West Bengal has the most number of Muslim prisoners with 47 per cent, Maharashtra with 32 per cent, Uttar Pradesh with 26 per cent and Bihar with 23 per cent. These are the 4 states where the numbers of Muslims under trial are more than the number of convicted Muslims. This clearly gives an insight on the negative attitude of the police force towards Muslims.
Intellectuals are of the opinion that Muslims are in this situation not only because they are poor and illiterate, but the inefficient police system is also responsible for this situation. Intellectuals who keep a constant vigil on Indian jails feel that the differentiation made by the Criminal Justice System towards the Muslims is among the major reasons for this situation in the country. The case studies of Muslim prisoners reveal that the majority of Muslims are arrested and convicted on the charges of land related disputes, violence, murder or attempt to murder, rape and extortion. On the other hand, facts also state that majority of these Muslim convicts were ordered to be kept under the police custody for a maximum period of 7 days, as the police either completed their investigation within the stipulated 7 days or failing to prove the allegations against the convict, they were released on bail, or the Court did not feel the importance of keeping the convicts in jails for more amount of time. But among all these facts and figures, the most striking point is that the Muslim prisoners are majorly within the age group of 18 to 30 years, and a big crime is not expected at such a tender age. It is also a fact that the number of Muslims who are shut in Indian jails at this point of time whose crime has been proved are very few, and the larger majority are those prisoners whose cases have been under trial for many years. There are many cases in which we can observe that the convicts have not committed any crime, but they have been forcefully arrested under false allegations. As the convict refused to admit the crime during the first hearing, the Court decides to send the convict under Government custody and orders further investigation in the case. In this way, the convict keeps on getting dates after dates for hearing from the Court. After the passage of a few years, the convict believes that accepting the allegations would be appropriate for him, but then he comes to know that the allegation for which he was convicted would have made him liable for a punishment of 6 months in jail, whereas he had already spent more than 3 years under custody in jail !
It is not entirely true that the negative attitude of the police force is the only reason behind the increasing number of Muslim prisoners in jails : Muslims are also responsible for this situation. This is mainly because they are not educated; the parents put their child to work from a very tender age so that their children could earn more and more money but this tender age is the time when the chances of the child going into a bad direction is more. This is the reason why the children start acquiring bad habits like stealing, intemperance and other such types of habits, and when these children grow up, they start doing big crimes in order to fulfil their needs and requirements connected with those bad habits. Therefore, it is important that proper education should be provided to Muslims, but it is commonly seen that even after getting education, the Muslims do not find jobs for themselves. The basic reason is the fact that majority of the Muslim population goes to Madrasas for their education, where modern education is not a part of their curricula as a result of which they do not find good jobs and thereby, even their education does not help in pulling themselves up from the darkness of poverty. We all know that all evil activities draw their roots from poverty, and the Muslims too are not left out. Apart from this, the media has mostly created a lacklustre image of Muslims. The situation of the media is such that we do not find any reports related to the problems faced by Muslims, but if the Muslims are found involved in terrorist activities, then the telecast of this report on TV would continue for days and the article finds its place on the very first page of the newspapers. The attitude of the media should change and they should give importance to those problems faced by the Muslims, which would help in rescuing the Muslim community from the grasp of illiteracy, economic stability and help in their social upliftment. The Government is also taking initiatives to help in the social upliftment of the Muslims, but the intentions are not clear, mainly because any Government led by any party would try to help the Muslims for their betterment with an intention of gaining maximum number of votes from the Muslim community in coming elections. This is why we do not find clear intentions on this issue and do not find any improvements in the situation for the Muslim community even after efforts from the Government. Moreover, the most critical disadvantage which the Muslims have is that they do not have a guide among them, who could give them proper guidance, and help in making them better individuals for society. By reducing these drawbacks, the Muslims can be provided with the scope of leading a better life; otherwise if we ignore the Muslim community, then the dream of becoming a developed nation will not be fulfilled.
National Crime Records Bureau
The latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau under the Home Ministry states that there are in total 1393 jails across the country and the total number of prisoners in these jails is 3,68,998, out of which 76,701 are Muslims. It is quite surprising that out of the total Muslim prisoners, only 22, 672 prisoners have been convicted by the Court, while the cases of 53, 312 Muslim prisoners are still under trial, which means that the Muslim prisoners whose cases are under trial constitute more than 60 per cent of the total Muslim prisoners. One thing that we know is that the numbers of prisoners are much more than the allocated capacity of the jails, which means that the total capacity of the jails for the prisoners is 3, 20,150 but these jails are accommodating 3,68,998 with a lot of fuss. Not only has the care for the prisoners deteriorated, the work load of the jail administration has also increased substantially. On the other hand, we also know that there are so many cases in front of the court that are under trial and it takes years to complete a single case. Apart from this, there is a huge scarcity of Judges in the Courts. If there are no judges, then who will listen to the hearing and who will make the decisions.