Amid a heated debate over high number of Muslims, Dalits and Tribals as under-trials, minister of state for home affairs, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, made a controversial remark saying that data showed states where Muslim population was high, the number of undetrials from the community were also high.
“Jis state main zyada Muslim rahta hain, wahan zayda Muslim kaidi hota hain (In state where there are more Muslims, there are high Muslim under trials),” he said, while adding that there was no bias among the police against any religious group or caste. “Police is a state issue and we keep on issuing advisories to improve policing.”
Chaudhary said this while replying to a supplementary question raised by Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) asking the reason for higher proportion of Muslim, Dalits and tribals in jail as compared to their proportion in the population.
In a written reply, the minister informed that undertrials from Muslims, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe constituted about 1.48 lakh of the total 2.78 lakh. “It is a fact that the Muslims, Dalits and adivasis constitute 38.8% of the total population of our country. But the fact also is that the Muslims, Dalits and adivasis constitute 53% as undertrials".
"These statistics reflect a serious and dangerous institutional bias among the law enforcement agencies, and the funny part is that their conviction rate is more or less the same. This clearly shows that all these fake cases are being registered against the Muslims, Dalits and adivasis,” Owaisi said.
His statement resulted in immediate protest from the ruling party MPs who accused Owaisi of trying to give communal colour to the data provided by the home ministry and claimed that there was no bias against any community.
Owaisi did not buy the argument and said the data contradicted what Chaudhary had said.