India prison statistics: Muslim community has more undertrials than convicts

Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

The latest (2019) data on prisons released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that Dalits, tribals, and Muslims continue to be jailed in numbers disproportionate to their share in the total population of India, the Indian Express reported.

Muslims

According to the Indian Express report, the government data shows that among the marginalised groups, Muslims are the one community which has more undertrials than convicts.

While the Muslims made up 16.6% of the convict population, and 18.7% of all undertrials in jails, the Census put their numbers at 14.2% of the population.

The largest number of Muslim convicts were in Uttar Pradesh (6,098), followed by West Bengal (2,369) and Maharashtra (2,114).

The largest number of Muslim undertrials were also in Uttar Pradesh (21,139), followed by Bihar (4,758) and Madhya Pradesh (2,947).

“Muslim men were already incarcerated in large numbers but now their number has increased even more. In eyes of law, these men are innocent but they still face years in prison This is another proof of the systemic injustice we’ve to face,” said AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP  Asaduddin Owaisi.

Dalits

The NCRB data shows that people from Scheduled Castes (SCs) accounted for 21.7% of convicts and 21% of undertrials.

The 2011 Census put their share in the population at 16.6%.

The maximum number of Dalit undertrials were in Uttar Pradesh (17,995), followed by Bihar (6,843) and Punjab (6,831).

Most Dalit convicts  (6,143) in UP, followed by MP (5,017) and Punjab (2,786). 

Tribals

The Scheduled Tribes made up 13.6% of all convicts in jails across the country. The share of among tribal undertrials languishing in jails stood at 10.5%.

The Census put their numbers at 8.6% of the population.

State-wise, the maximum number of tribal undertrials in jails were in Madhya Pradesh (5,894), followed by UP (3,954) and Chhattisgarh (3,471).  Most tribal convicts were in MP (5,303), Chhattisgarh (2,906) and Jharkhand (1,985).

Read the full report here.