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Half of India's police personnel feel Muslims are 'natural' criminals: Report

The new report shows that many police personnel in India advocate vigilante justice [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2019

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A new study reveals the extent of prejudice against Muslims in the Indian police force, including a large percentage who advocate mob justice.
Nearly half of India's police personnel feel that Muslims are "naturally prone" to committing crimes, according to a report released by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) - one of India’s autonomous think tanks.

The report surveyed around 12,000 police personnel in 21 Indian states. 

It also found that one in three police staff endorse killings and mob justice in cases of outrage over cow slaughter. 

Read more: McDonald's faces boycott in India for serving halal meat

In addition, around 40% justified mob violence for those accused of rape, kidnapping, or even road accidents involving negligent drivers, and nearly one in five said it was better for dangerous criminals to be killed than to have a trial.

"Some of the findings were very surprising," Manjesh Rana, one of researchers on the study, told Al Jazeera. "We believe that this could be the perception of the people but not the perception of the police."

"We can't really establish that the prejudices they have, whether it's affecting their work or not but there are always these chances," he added.  

The findings come amid an increasingly fraught atmosphere in India between the majority Hindus and Muslims. Rights groups and the United Nations have expressed concern over an increase in harassment and violence against India’s Muslim minority.

Dozens of Muslims and low-caste Hindus have been killed by Hindu right-wing vigilante groups in recent years over instances of cow slaughter and petty theft, often forced to chant “Jai Shree Ram” (Victory to Lord Ram) while being brutally beaten on video.

Critics of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi say that his Hindu Nationalist Party has emboldened these groups since they swept to power in 2014.

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