The latest Government of India report, “Prison Statistics India 2013”, has given an interesting detail, overlooked by many. The percentage of convicts as well of undertrials in India’s prisons is much higher than their population in three important vulnerable communities – Muslims, scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs). The data suggest that while Muslims constitute around 14 per cent of India’s population, their share of jail population is around 19 per cent – 17.1 per cent of convicts and 21 per cent of undertrials.
The situation with regard to SCs and STs is not very different. As against the population strength of 16.2 per cent, the SCs constitute 22.5 per cent of convicts and 21.3 per cent of undertrials. As for STs, who form 8.6 per cent of the population, but there are 11.7 per cent ST convicts and 11.3 per cent ST undertrials.
In 2012 also, the religion-wise break-up was almost same. Thus, there were 18.8 per cent Muslim convicts and 21 Muslim undertrials. The report has been prepared and release by the National Crime Records Bureau, a constituent of the Union Ministry of Home.