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The uniform code

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The recent ‘Status of Policing in India Report, 2018’ published by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and the NGO Common Cause — which has been hardly discussed in the media, unfortunately — offers a comprehensive survey of the performance and perceptions of the Indian police. We shall focus here on one aspect: The relation between Indian Muslims and the police. According to the report, while all minorities fear the police more than Hindus, the apprehension is more acute in the case of Muslims: Sixty-four per cent of them are “highly” or “somewhat” fearful of the police. No question was asked about the lynching of Muslims in the name of cow protection, which has often taken place in spite of, or in the presence of, the police, probably because the survey was made before this phenomenon gained momentum.

As a result, the main reason for this fear appears to be the fact that “police often implicates Muslims under false terrorism charges”. Indeed, there are many cases of young Muslims who have been to jail and even spent years behind the bars for this “reason”, before the judiciary, at long last, released them. In four states, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, 50 per cent or more of the Muslim interviewees say that police discriminates on the basis of religion.

This may be partly explained by the social profile of the policemen. The database we have compiled shows that Muslims are dramatically under-represented in the Indian Police Service (IPS). It has always been the case: Their share was already lower than 5 per cent in the 1950s, less than half the proportion of Muslims in Indian society according to the 1951 census. While the share of Muslims in the population subsequently rose,........

© Indian Express