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High number of Muslims in Indian prisons: Is the legal system biased towards the minority community?
A recently released report on 'Prisons Statistics' by the National Crime Bureau, shows the most distressing story of the state of Muslims in India. The reports says that in sharp contrast to schools and jobs, where their share is way below their share in the population, Muslims have a disproportionately high representation when it comes to being in prison in many states.

The study monitored all the four categories- convicts, under trial, detainees and others- of prisoners held across jails in India and concentrated mainly on the figures of prisoners belonging to Muslim community.

It's been observed that Muslims' share in prison is quite high as compared to their population on the national level. 56.7% of convicts belonging to Muslim community were lodged in four States namely Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

When we asked some Muslim clerics about this discouraging scenario, they reasoned that it was because of the biased nature of the police in the country. They alleged that Muslims are unnecessarily targeted by the police machinery in terror cases mere on the basis of suspicion.

Speaking about the report Arshad Madani, President ofJamiat Ulama -e- Hind says, "Muslims are facing various problems and this is one of them. Till the time the Punjabi-Akali war was on, at that time Akali's were more in number in the prisons, and now the Muslims are arrested and put in jail for no reason."

When asked whether there are any loopholes in the legal system, he said, "There is no loophole in the legal system, but this is only because of communalism, it is spreading like a cancer in the society. If we eradicate communalism from the society and if all the people from different religions live in unity and have the same laws and parameters then it will help us a lot."

Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomania, Secretary of Jamiat Ulama -e- Hind said, "This is because of discrimination. The people in police with communal mindset use it and they arrest the Muslim youths giving some nonsense reasons. This is because of the social mindset of the people which makes them to think about the caste and creed, and this brings up the partiality on the surface."

We also spoke to the lawyer community to get the exact reason behind this. He reiterated that the one main reason why large number of Muslim detainees remains in jail for longer period is that most of them come from very poor background and hence not only lack legal awareness, but often they have no financial capacity to move to courts for bail and are unable to engage good lawyers during trial.

"One of the reason is that Muslims are lower in social strata, which is below SC and ST, thus they are more susceptible to crimes. Second thing is they lack financial resources, so they can't afford good lawyers, this is one of the aspect which is very important. This is nothing to do with the judiciary system in India. Court doesn't look for your name and religion, they just look for the crime one has done," says Imran Ali, a Supreme Court lawyer. 

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