NEW DELHI: Police in India sees Muslim-dominated localities as dens of criminal or terrorist activities and victimise Muslims on the basis of their identities, say the findings of a study done by two human rights groups. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Quill Foundation released a joint report ‘Muslim Voices: Perception of Policing in India’ on Friday, documenting the experiences of Muslims with police.
The study — perhaps the first of its kind — is based on interactions with 25 retired Muslim police personnel and 197 community members in eight cities — Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Kozhikode, and Mumbai. “There is a unanimous perception that the police targets and victimises Muslims, resulting in feelings that the community is often criminalised without basis.
A common perception emerged that the police sees Muslim localities as dens of criminal or terrorist activity, perpetuating a suspicion and distrust of the community. Muslim community members said that police attitudes and their dealings with Muslims are conditioned by this lens of prejudice,” the report states.
It also points to over-policing of Muslim areas and display of Hindu symbols at police stations.
Muslim women have to bear the ‘double burden’ of being a Muslim and a woman. A woman social worker is quoted in the report to be using a non-Muslim name in order to do her work.
In a series of recommendations to end this mutual distrust, the report says the Centre should ask the states to increase the representation of Muslims in police force. It also called for implementation of the Sachar panel’s suggestion to post one Muslim police officer at every police station in a Muslim concentrated area.