50% of Cops Feel Muslims Are More Prone to Criminality: CSDS Study

In Uttar Pradesh, 56 percent of the police force believes that Muslims are more prone to committing criminal acts.

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Nearly half of India’s police force feels that Muslims are naturally more likely to commit violence, while one in every three policemen maintain that it is only natural for a mob to punish the alleged accused in cases of cow slaughter, says a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Common Cause. The report, titled Status of Policing in India 2019, is based on a survey of around 12,000 policemen and women across 21 states.

While the report focuses extensively on working conditions on India’s police force, it also delves into how they perceive the world in which they operate.

A detailed look at the study reveals that nearly 14 percent of India’s police force feels that Muslims are ‘Very Likely’ to be naturally prone towards committing crime, while 36 percent believe that they are ‘Somewhat Likely’ to commit criminal offenses.

This is in contrast to 33 percent of the police force (‘Very Likely’ – 6 percent, ‘Somewhat Likely’ – 27 percent) which feels that Upper Castes are likely to commit criminal offences. Moreover, two-thirds of the police force surveyed in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Bihar are of the view that Muslims are more likely to commit criminal offences. The trend is particularly worrying in Uttarakhand, where four out of five policemen hold a similar view.

In Uttar Pradesh, where the Muslim population stands at nearly 19 percent, nearly 56 percent (‘Very Likely’ – 20 percent, ‘Somewhat Likely’ – 36 percent) of the police force believes that Muslims are more prone to committing criminal acts.


‘Study Reveals Erosion of Constitutional Values’

Social activist and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan Founder Aruna Roy, who was one of the panelists at the event to mark the release of the report, said “these numbers reveal a steady erosion of values enshrined in our Constitution. We need to re-look at these values and ensure that they are imbibed by policing agencies.”

Former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh, who spoke on law of order, first said that such generalisations against Muslims are unwarranted and unwelcome, since criminals come from various backgrounds. However, when asked about the cause behind such a mindset, Singh said “while everybody commits crimes, Muslims commit it rather aggressively.”


UP & Karnataka Cops Believe Dalits More Prone to Crime

Although at the national level, the report did not find any major difference in how the police perceive various caste-groups in terms of their criminal tendencies, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka had the highest number of policemen who believed that Dalits were more prone to committing crime.

So far as Adivasis and tribals are concerned, the report found that “While Rajasthan and Maharashtra had about half of the police personnel reporting that Adivasis are likely to be naturally prone towards committing crimes, about two-fifth of the police personnel in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Gujarat believe so, all states which fall under the Fifth Schedule, 6 except Uttarakhand.”

50% Believe SC/ST Cases False

It's not just perception, the report mentions that over half of the police force feels that complains registered under ‘The Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989’ are false and motivated. While 21 percent said that complains registered under the SC/ST Act were “very much” false, around 30 percent believed the said complaints were fictitious.

A closer look reveals “about three-fifth of the upper-caste police personnel to be more likely to believe that in their experience complaints under the SC/ST (PoA) Act are false and motivated (‘very much’ and ‘somewhat’ combined), while SC and ST police personnel believing so were 9 and 20 percentage points lesser, respectively.”


One in Every Three Cops Okay With Gau Rakshaks

The report also sheds light on what the police force thinks about cases of mob violence that have risen over the years. According to the report, one in every three policemen across the country feel that it is natural for a mob to punish an alleged accused in cases of cow slaughter. This number is particularly high in Madhya Pradesh, where about 63 percent of the state’s police force feels that mob lynching in cases of cow slaughter is natural (‘Very Much – 39 percent, ‘Somewhat’ – 24 percent).

In Uttar Pradesh, 23 percent of policemen feel its is very much natural for a mob to lynch in cow slaughter cases, while 14 percent feel that it is somewhat natural.

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