Latest data with the Union Ministry shows that Maharashtra, Rajasthan and National Capital are among the worst with respect to Muslim representation in the Police forces in the country. According to the figures, supplied by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), just 1,945, 954 and 1,521 Muslim officers serve in the Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi Police forces, whose total strengths are 1,82,971, 76,356 and 75,117, respectively. It means that there are 1, 1.2 and 2 per cent representation of the Muslim population in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and National Capital's forces.
It is to point out that there are just 1.08 lakh Muslim officers in the 16.6-lakh police force of the country. This also means the representation of Muslims in the force is just over 6 per cent. The data also shows that of the 1.08 lakh Muslim officers in India, almost half (46,250) are serving in Jammu and Kashmir alone. Hence, keeping Jammu and Kashmir aside, the representation of Muslims in the force is as low as 4 per cent.
Home Ministry officials conceded that with such low representation of Muslims, it's currently not possible to find inspector or sub- inspector-rank Muslim officers to take charge of police stations in minority population areas. The Sachar Committee report of November 2006 had also pointed to the poor representation of Muslims in various government services and recommended having Muslim officers at top positions in police stations as a way to build confidence among the population which may have a high concentration of Muslims. Earlier this year, the ministry had shot a letter to all the states, asking them to do the same.
National Commission for Minorities (NCM) chairperson Wajahat Habibullah blamed the states for the poor representation of Muslims in the police. "The PM's 15-point programme for the welfare of minorities had prescribed that in the recruitment of police personnel, state governments will be advised to give special consideration to minorities and, for this purpose, the selection committees should have representatives from the minority community. But very few states have done this," he said.
The figures with the home ministry also show that Muslim officers are few even in the police forces of states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which have a huge minority population. According to Habibullah, let alone the senior- level, even the armed constabulary at the police station-level, with which the public interacts directly, lacks Muslim officers. The disconnect is exposed in cases such as the Mecca Masjid blast, where shoddy investigation led to the arrest of innocent Muslims, or the recent Gopalgarh riots, where 10 Muslims were killed in clashes with policemen who were primarily Gujjars.
An NCM team had indicted the police for acting in a partisan manner. For the record, Rajasthan has just 1.2 per cent representation of Muslims in its force. "So even if you have Muslim personnel at the IPS level, real change needs to be brought at the constabulary level. The police and community linkages have to be strengthened. Poor representation of Muslims in the police is impacting investigations as there is a lack of sensitivity in understanding the community. We have asked the police force to include such sensitization in training modules as well," Habibullah said.