Over half India’s jailed people are Dalits, Muslims, tribal people

November 8, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

New Delhi, November 8, 2016: More than half of the inmates in Indian jails are from marginalized groups betraying a two-tier system where those with money can escape the complicated legal system, according to church leaders and activists.

About 55 percent of those in prison in 2015 were either Muslims, Dalits or tribal people, according to information from the National Crime Records Bureau released in October.

What has caused a stir is that these groups only make up 39 percent of India’s population, according to census data.

The National Crime Records Bureau report showed that more than 70 percent of the 282,076 jailed people in 2015 had not completed tenth grade in school.

“What is certainly not the case is that people from marginalized communities commit more crimes,” said Father Z. Devasagaya Raj, secretary of the Indian bishops’ office for Dalits and indigenous people.

“It is obvious that their number is greater because of their illiteracy and poverty which prevents them from understanding laws and engaging lawyers,” he said.

Their poverty also emboldens police to file charges against them “freely without fearing any backlash” he added.

The data also shows that most have to spend over three months in jail before they can secure bail. Close to 65 percent spend between three months and five years in jail before they trial.

“Who has time to hear the plight of the poor? They are left at the mercy of God,” said Muhammad Arif, chairman of the Centre for Harmony and Peace.

There have been several cases of police arresting people from socially excluded groups and framing them for unsolved crimes, Arif added.

Father Raj said there is a higher chance innocent people will be convicted if they have no legal aid.

Rameshwar Oraon, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes said that the “biggest reason” why Dalits, Muslims and indigenous people are disproportionately represented in India’s jails is because they lack education.

Thomas Franklin Caesar, a Supreme Court lawyer and a Dalit activist, said that police know it is safe to blame people from these groups as they are helpless to challenge officials in a court of law.

“It is safe to blame them for everything from murder to petty crimes,” he said, adding that religious groups and activists should find a way to provide free legal help to marginalized people.

– ucan

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!