In this Section
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has confirmed, in its 2009 study report, what was a known fact that Indian Muslims need to give greater attention to their neglected and poor sections, who, because of educational backwardness, economic marginalisation and overwhelming discrimination, have disproportionate numbers among jail inmates in India. Muslims are 10.6 per cent of population in Maharashtra but they make 36 per cent of prisoners.
Justice Sachar Committee Report had pointed out the fact that the only place where Muslims have greater representation than their share in population is jails.
TISS report is based on interviews of 3,086 prisoners in 15 major jails of Maharashtra. It states that 31 per cent of these under-trials and convicts are stark illiterates and 61 per cent can barely read or write as they have studied just up to Class IV. Among the jail inmates only 5.5 per cent have studied up to Secondary or Higher Secondary levels, and graduates and post-graduates are a poor one per cent.
The report was prepared under constraints imposed by jail authorities, who did not allow questions regarding discrimination against Muslims, which is grossly prevalent in law enforcing agencies. They even did not allow questions about torture and third degree methods, which are routinely used against Muslim accused. You will find that most of the terror accused are educated and the so-called confessions from them have been procured under worst tortures.
Yet the Muslims must do stocktaking. They have to rebuild their society on the basis of fear of God and a deep sense of social responsibility. Ulema and preachers and socio-religious organisations must give utmost and urgent attention to promote literacy and education in the community. Skills and technical education should be provided for the poor, and maximum employment opportunities should be created for them. The haves must do their bit in this respect. Advocates must take up the cases of falsely accused persons. It is the primary responsibility of the Muslim Ummah to build a crime-free and ethical society. How can we tolerate moral delinquency and criminal mentality which is destroying the very basis of Islam and tarnishing the image of Muslims? A jihad against crimes and criminality is the need of the hour.