In 2021, in Assam, 61% of the convicts and 49% of the undertrials were Muslims, while the population share of the community in the State was 34%, according to Prison Statistics of India.
Muslims in Assam -governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- have been facing systematic discrimination, prejudice, and violence, despite constitutional protections.
The state Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Another shocking data from Assam is that since May 2021, soon after Sarma took over as chief minister of Assam, 161 incidents of police action took place across Assam resulting in the death of 51 people and injuries to 139 others.
The most killed belonged to ethnic or religious minorities in Assam, Maktoob analyzed. Out of the deceased people identified, at least 22 were Muslims.
The share of Muslim detainees was also disproportationate to the population share in states like Gujarat, U.P., Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
According to the latest data, over 30% of all detenues in Indian prisons were Muslims in 2021. The Muslim community’s share in the country’s population is only 14.2% as of 2011.
Many prison statistics reports have been showing a disproportionate representation of Muslims, Sikhs, as well as Dalits (Scheduled Castes) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), relative to their share in the population according to the 2011 census.
There are four types of prisoners in India, 1)convicts (persons found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court), 2)undertrials (currently on trial in a court of law), 3) detenues (persons held lawfully in custody), and those who do not belong to any of these three categories.
In 2021, all 41 detenues lodged in Haryana’s jails were Muslim, as were 78.5% of detenues in West Bengal and 56.7% in Uttar Pradesh.