Not much change in ‘ovrecrowded’ Indian jails

Nothing much has changed in “overcrowded” Indian jails where socially and economically downtrodden forms the bulk, according to a latest report on prisons.

The ‘Prison Statistics India 2015’ released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Saturday showed that 114 prisoners shared the space meant for 100 last year, though it betters the figure of 117 in 2014.

Among them, two-third of the prisoners are Dalits and Other Backward Castes (OBCs) while around 19 per cent are Muslims. Around 28 per cent are illiterates and another set of 42 per cent have never seen colleges.

By 2015-end, there were over 4.19 lakh prisoners staying in jails, which had space for just 3.66 lakh people. The decrease in occupancy to 114.4% from 117.4% was managed as only there was an increase of 1,087 prisoners while the capacity rose by 10,220. In 2014, the capacity increase was 8,702.

Undertrials accounted for 67.2% of the prisoners though the numbers have slightly decreased last year by 803 to 2.82 lakh. Convicts numbered 1.34 lakh.

“In recent years, it is one of the biggest problems faced by prison inmates. Overcrowding results in poor hygiene, lack of sleep etc. Keeping in view the human rights of the prisoners, it is essential that they are given reasonable space and facilities in jails,” the report said.

While 15 states, including the big ones like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, GujaratKarnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, have an occupancy rate less than 100 per cent, the major culprits in the keeping the national rate above 100 per cent are Chhattisgarh (233.9%), Delhi (226.9) and Uttar Pradesh (168.8).

The highest rate of occupancy was reported in Dadra and Nagar Haveli at 276.7 per cent.

Chhattisgarh jails are housing 17,662 prisoners in the space for 7,552 while in Delhi it has 14,183 in the space of 6,250.

Karnataka has improved its figures from 2014 — it now has 13,473 prisoners while it can actually house 14,046 prisoners. In 2014, Karnataka jails housed 14,221 prisoners in the space for 13,381.

A demographic analysis of the prisoners showed that Scheduled Castes accounted for 20.9% (28,033) of the 1.34 lakh convicts lodged in jails while Scheduled Tribes prisoners were 13.7 per cent (18,403). The number of OBC convicts were 41,931, which is 31.2 per cent.

The figures are almost similar for undertrials also. An analysis on the basis of caste based classification of undertrial prisoners revealed that 34.4% (97,129 out of 2,82,076) and 31.5% of total undertrial prisoners belonged to General and OBC categories respectively.

The report said 21.6% (61,139) of undertrials belonged to Scheduled Castes while 12.4% (34,999) belonged to Scheduled Tribes.

When it comes to religious faith of the prisoners, around 70 per cent of them are Hindus — 72.64% (97,471) of the convicts and 69.8% (1,96 lakh) of undertrials.

Muslims account for 15.8% (21,220) among convicts and 20.9% (59,053) among undertrials.

Sikhs have around 17,000 prisoners while there are around 16,000 in jails. People from other religious denominations account for around 7,300.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Oct 23, 2016)

 

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Bulk of Indian prisoners are Dalits, OBCs, Muslims

Socially and economically downtrodden form the bulk of Indians lodged in prisons, a latest government report has underlined.

Two-third of the prisoners in lodged in Indian jails are Dalits and Other Backward Castes while around 19 per cent are Muslims. Around 28 per cent are illiterates and another set of 42 per cent have never seen colleges, according to Prison in India 2015.

The report released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Scheduled Castes accounted for 20.9% (28,033) of the 1.34 lakh convicts lodged in jails while Scheduled Tribes prisoners were 13.7 per cent (18,403).

The number of OBC convicts was 41,931, which is 31.2 per cent. Prisoners from general category were 34.1 per cent.

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By Caste Convicts and Undertrials

Scheduled Caste – 89,172 – 21.25%

Scheduled Tribes – 53,402 – 12.72%

OBC –1,30,740 – 31.15%

General – 1,42,930 – 34.06%

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The figures are almost similar for undertrials also. An analysis on the basis of caste based classification of undertrial prisoners revealed that 34.4% (97,129 out of 2,82,076) and 31.5% of total undertrial prisoners belonged to General and OBC categories respectively.

According to the report, 21.6% (61,139) of undertrials belonged to Scheduled Castes while 12.4% (34,999) belonged to Scheduled Tribes.

When it comes to religious faith of the prisoners, around 70 per cent of them are Hindus — 72.64% (97,471) of the convicts and 69.8% (1,96 lakh) of undertrials.

Muslims account for 15.8% (21,220) among convicts and 20.9% (59,053) among undertrials.

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By RELIGON Convicts and Undertrials

Hindus – 2,84,312 – 67.75%

Muslims – 80,273 – 19.12%

Sikhs – 18,424 – 4.39%

Christians – 15,921 – 3.79%

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Sikhs have around 17,000 prisoners while there are around 16,000 in jails. People from other religious denominations account for around 7,300.

Of the total convicts, 36,406 out of 1,34,168 convicts lodged in various jails were reported as illiterate and 57,610 convicts were educated below class X. These two categories accounted for 27.1% and 42.9% respectively.

Uttar Pradesh (7,215), Madhya Pradesh (4,743), Punjab (3,344), Chhattisgarh (2,789) and West Bengal (2,574) have together accounted for 56.8% of illiterate convicts.

Uttar Pradesh had reported the highest number of graduate convicts (1,553) followed by Punjab (668), Madhya Pradesh (581), Rajasthan (551) and Haryana (550). The highest number of post graduate convicts were also reported from Uttar Pradesh (566) followed by Punjab (267) and Madhya Pradesh (224).

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By Education Convicts and Undertrials

Illiterates – 1,16,934 –27.86%

Below Class X – 1,76,692 – 42.10%

Class X but Below Graduation – 61,054 – 14.54 %

Graduation – 23,552 – 5.61%

Post Graduation – 7,685 – 1.83%

Technical degree/diploma – 4,300 – 1.02%

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A total of 80,528 undertrial prisoners were illiterate and 1,19,082 were educated below class X standard, together accounting for 70.8%.

Uttar Pradesh had reported the highest number of undertrial prisoners who were graduates (5,453) followed by Maharashtra (1,280), Bihar (1,050), Rajasthan (974), and Madhya Pradesh (841). Maximum number of post graduate undertrials (1,822) were lodged in Uttar Pradesh prisons.

(Oct 23, 2016)

Ministership: Rao approached IG Patel twice

Twice the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao approached economist I G Patel to join his cabinet and the second time, it was as a “back-up” if his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh resigned.

This is revealed in a new book ‘1991: How P V Narasimha Rao Made History’ by journalist-academician Sanjaya Baru, who was also media adviser to Singh when he became Prime Minister in 2004.

Patel, who was close Morarji Desai in 1970s and earned global reputation, was Rao’s first choice as Finance Minister but when the Baroda-settled economist refused, he turned to Singh, who accepted it.

The name of Patel once again came to Rao’s mind when P Chidambaram, the handling Commerce Ministry, submitted his resignation in July 1992 over allegations of financial impropriety believing that Rao would reject his offer. However, Rao had other plans and accepted the resignation.

1991

“It is only after IG and PV (Rao) passed away that I learnt that PV had approached IG a second time, inviting him again to join his council of ministers,” Baru writes. Rao’s close friend and journalist Kalyani Shankar believes the then Prime Minister wanted to offer Commerce portfolio to Patel after Chidambaram’s resignation.

“On the other hand, PV’s aide and media adviser (PVRK) Prasad does not rule out the possibility that PV wanted another economist in the government as a back-up just in case Singh chose to quit, unable to deal with political attacks against him from within the Congress,” the book says.

Singh had at least thrice offered to quit following attacks from within Congress. Third time, Rao sent Prasad to get Singh to withdraw his resignation saying, “Dr Manmohan Singh is allergic to politicians. That is why I cannot send a politician to persuade him.”

Coming after Jairam Ramesh’s ‘To the Brink and Back’ and Vinay Sitapati’s ‘Half Lion: How P V Narasimha Rao Transformed India’ on Rao’s life and tenure as Prime Minister, the new book tries to tell the story of economic reforms through the year 1991. It also talks about the problems faced by previous government under Chandra Shekhar.

Referring to the downfall of Chandra Shekhar government, Baru feels that Chandrasekhar stumped Rajiv Gandhi with his resignation in 1991 after Congress upped ante over the ‘snooping’ incident.

Rajiv requested Sharad Pawar to intervene on his behalf and get Chandra Sekhar to withdraw his resignation. Chandra Sekhar told Pawar, “Go back and tell him that Chandra Shekhar does not change his mind three times a day.”

Sep 26, 2016

For More Reading

MMS: Whose Choice? 

https://sheminjoy.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/mms-whose-choice/

On Rao’s unpublished article Liberalisation and the Public Sector 

https://sheminjoy.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/on-raos-unpublished-article-liberalisation-and-the-public-sector/

Narasimha Rao’s IB operations !!!

https://sheminjoy.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/narasimha-raos-ib-operations/

NHRC takes up cow vigilantism

cow-vigi-guj-jpg-image-975-568

(Four men were stripped and beaten over suspicion of killing a cow in Gujarat — screen shot of a video)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Centre to inform about the action taken against cow vigilantism following a complaint it received citing at least 15 incidents of attacks on people this year alone.

Delhi-based lawyer K R Subhash Chandran had approached the NHRC last month seeking action against such groups, armed with data in which he claimed that at least three persons were killed and around 40 physically attacked by cow vigilantes.

Acting on the complaint, the NHRC has asked the MHA to take appropriate action within eight weeks.

“The authority concerned is directed to take appropriate action within eight weeks and inform the complainant of the action taken in the matter,” the NHRC communique to the MHA said.

The complaint submitted to the NHRC said the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in his home in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh in September 2015 on suspicion that he consumed beef has been followed by a “rash of attacks by cow vigilante groups” across north India.

“At least three people have been killed this year so far, and several beaten, flogged and subjected to severe indignities. Recently in Gujarat, the flogging of Dalits for skinning a dead cow has triggered spontaneous street protests by the Dalits and minorities,” it said.

The petition had asked for a direction to authorities to take appropriate steps to protect the human rights of different lower caste-minority communities and ensure their rehabilitation.

Chandran told DH that if the government had taken appropriate action at the time of Akhlaq’s killing, further incidents would not have happened. “The inaction from the authorities emboldened cow vigilante groups,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in August called cow vigilantes “anti-social” while opposition parties had criticised him for his silence on not acting against them.

In a statement on Monday, the CPI(M) Central Committee called for a ban on cow vigilante groups saying, such organisations should not be permitted to take law into their hands. “Such private storm troopers cannot be permitted to run amok,” it added.

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Brief details of incidents involving cow vigilante groups in 2016 (from the complaint)

Punjab

Jan 2: 2 trucks allegedly carrying buffalo tallow stopped in Rupnagar district; 1 truck torched; both drivers fled.
Mar 28: Truck allegedly carrying buffalo tallow stopped on Rupnagar-Kurali road; driver Balkar Singh thrashed.
Jul 31: Rakesh Kumar, Ramesh Kumar beaten for allegedly slaughtering cows outside Malout, Muktsar district.

Gujarat

July 11: A group of 35 gau rakshaks attacked 7 Dalits in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath district, accusing them of slaughtering a cow. Beat them with iron rods and sticks, kidnapped four Dalits and took them to Una, tied them to a car and flogged them publicly through the town. 7 Dalits were admitted to hospital. 5 gau rakshaks and a mob of 35 booked for attempt to murder and for subjecting SCs to atrocities. 31 persons, including two minor boys, held. Dalits have said they were merely skinning a dead cow.

July 27: Girish Sosa of Navsari, who was carrying cattle meat in a plastic bag, beaten up by gau rakshaks.

Haryana

Apr 2: Body of Mustain (27), of Saharanpur, missing since March 6, found in Kurukshetra. His father, Tahir Hasan, accused 4 Gau Raksha Dal members of his murder. On May 9, the High Court ordered a CBI probe.
May 6: 3 people thrashed Waseem, 20, in Sohna alleging he was carrying beef, a fourth recorded beating, others threatened victim with a gun. Later, vigilantes posed for photographs with the “catch”. FIR against Waseem; no case against the vigilantes.
Jun 10: Gau rakshaks force-fed Rizwan and Mukhtiar a cowdung mixture after intercepting them allegedly ferrying beef in Faridabad.

Jharkhand

Mar 18: Cattle traders Majloom Ansari (35) and Imtiyaz Khan (12) were beaten, robbed and hanged from a tree in Jhabra village in the Balumath police station area of Latehar district. Police arrested 5 of the 8 accused; the other 3 subsequently surrendered in court. One accused, Mithilesh Sahu, belongs to a cow vigilante group, the others are his associates.

Madhya Pradesh

Jan 13: Gau rakshaks thrashed a Muslim couple for objecting to their bags being searched at Khirkiya railway station. A bag from which meat was seized did not belong to them.
Jan 28: Police and vigilantes raided home of Anwar Mev, office-bearer of BJP’s minority cell, in Tonk Khurd and allegedly recovered meat that they claimed was beef. Mev, 8 male relatives were arrested.
Jul 26: 2 Muslim women beaten at Mandsaur railway station on suspicion of carrying beef. 4 men, 2 women seen assaulting the women in a video arrested.

Rajasthan

Mar 14: Local students had a run-in with Kashmiri students alleging the latter cooked beef in the hostel of the private Mewar University in Chittorgarh. 4 Kashmiri students arrested; released on bail. Lab report said the meat was not beef.
May 31: At a picket in Chhoti Sadadi, Pratapgarh, vigilantes caught 7 for transporting 96 bullocks in two trucks; 100-150-strong mob beat up 3 truck occupants, set truck on fire, and attacked police when they tried to intervene. 3 FIRs lodged; 2 against the alleged transporters, 1 against the mob that allegedly included Bajrang Dal members

Jammu and Kashmir/Himachal Pradesh

No attacks this year in either state

However, on October 18, 2015, the cleaner of a truck, Zahid Ahmad of Anantnag, died of burns suffered during the petrol-bombing of the Valley-bound vehicle on October 9 in Udhampur by a local mob protesting a “beef party” hosted by independent MLA Engineer Rashid in Srinagar a few days earlier. The alleged attackers were charged under the Public Safety Act.

In Himachal, Noman, 20, was lynched in Lawasa village in Sirmour district on October 17, 2015, allegedly by villagers who chased the truck in which he was ferrying cows to Saharanpur. 4 of Noman’s associates and half a dozen villagers were booked; the latter were, however, released on bail by HC.

Andhra Pradesh

Aug 8: Two Dalit men have been brutally beaten up by cow vigilantes in a village in Andhra Pradesh after they were called in to carry away a dead cow. While the two men from the Madiga community were skinning the cow, the gau rakshaks accused them of killing it and then went on to beat them up. One of them is admitted in hospital in a serious condition. The attack happened near Aamalapuram in Kakinada district.

 (An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 20, 2016)

Finger print bureaux don’t have enough men

Finger prints might have landed many criminals behind bars but around half of the posts in central and state bureaux dealing with such expert jobs lie vacant.

According to statistics, 896 (47.18 per cent) out of the 1,899 posts sanctioned in the central and state finger print bureaux remain vacant.

At the central bureau, only 35 people are working while the sanctioned strength is 114. There is only one Sub Inspector in place of 42 sanctioned in the central bureau while there are only 16 Inspectors in place of 32 needed.

The situation is worst in Tamil Nadu where the state unit has just 47 officials in place of a sanctioned strength of 309 while Delhi has an excess of three officers — 75 in place of 72 sanctioned.

Maharashtra (203 in place of 307), Karnataka (113 in place of 201) and Kerala (84 in place of 106) have better record.

Apart from the central bureau, there are 29 finger print bureaux functioning in states and union territories. The Central Finger Print Bureau (CFPB), which functions under the NCRB, maintains the fingerprint records of arrested or convicted inter-state and international criminals.

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Number of fingerprint slips of convicted persons in state bureaux

Punjab — 5,79,491

Uttar Pradesh — 4,61,115

Maharashtra — 3,02,687

Madhya Pradesh — 1,71,813

Tamil Nadu — 1,67,113

Gujarat — 1,55,261

Haryana — 1,27,189

Kerala — 1,06,485

Delhi — 1,02,786

Karnataka — 28,164

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A senior official said finger print experts provide a huge fillip to the detection of criminals and the vacancies in bureaux would hamper the probe.

“Fingerprint provides the most reliable and infallible scientific clue, which not only identifies a person but also, excludes him from the rest of the world. For more than over a century, finger print science is still one of the most important tools used by various investigating and law enforcing agencies across the globe,” said the ‘Finger Print in India -2015’ released recently.

“Many a times, it is established, when all other leads fail, it is the fraction of a finger impression recovered from the scene of crime that helps link the crime to the criminal,” the report prepared by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 12, 2016)

Cheating cases: Kerala, Karna top in south India

Kerala and Karnataka are on the top in south India when it comes to cases of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust where the value of property lost was above Rs one crore.

Karnataka is the only southern state where a cheating of case involving over Rs 100 crore was registered in 2015, according to the ‘Crime in India 2015’ report.

According to the report prepared by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), these states together account for 251 of the 1,825 cases reported under cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust where the value of property lost was above Rs one crore.

Kerala topped the list with 76 cases in south India followed by Karnataka and Telangana with 46 cases each. Tamil Nadu had 43 cases while Andhra Pradesh accounted for remaining 40.

Across India, the Bihar topped the list with 358 cases followed by Delhi (299), Maharashtra (234) and Uttar Pradesh (222).

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Criminal Breach of Trust Cheating Fraud/ Forgery TOTAL
Kerala 10 65 1 76
Karnataka 6 40 0 46
Telangana 14 32 0 46
Tamil Nadu 4 35 4 43
Andhra Pradesh 4 24 12 40
TOTAL (All India figures) 396 1,233 196 1825

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The highest number of cheating cases was recorded in Kerala (65) while Karnataka came second with 40 cases.

According to the statistics, 32 cases in Karnataka had the value of property lost in cheating cases between Rs one and Rs 10 while it was five in Rs 1-25 crore bracket. There were one each case in the brackets of Rs 25-50 crore, Rs 50-100 crore and above Rs 100 crore.

Kerala had 64 cases where value of property lost in cheating cases between Rs one and Rs 10 while it had one case in the Rs 50-100 crore bracket.

There were no cases of fraud or forgery that resulted in a loss of over Rs one crore to the victim reported in Karnataka in 2015.

(An article appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 3, 2016)

Honour killing on the rise in a ‘beaming’ India

The numbers may signify just a drop in the ocean but it depicts the other side of a beaming India in the 21st century.

The country witnessed 192 cases of honour killings in 2015 while another 135 lost their lives to witchcraft. Twenty-four were victim to child or human sacrifice.

Even love affairs (1,379 cases) and illicit relationships (1,568) can also lead to a number of murders in the country. Of the 32,127 cases of murder in India in 2015, there were also 56 cases in which people were killed due to casteism and another 27 due to communalism.

The number of honour killings has seen a whopping seven time increase from 28 in 2014 to 251 last year. Uttar Pradesh accounted for majority of the killings to save family honour at 168 followed by Gujarat (25) and Madhya Pradesh (14).

Of the 251 cases, 192 were charged under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code while 59 were charged under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

honour

In 2014, Madhya Pradesh was on top of the list with seven honour killings while Punjab and Maharashtra reported five cases each. NCRB had started recording the murders under the ‘honour killing’ category from 2014 only.

South India is also not immune to honour killings though the perception is that honour killing.

While Karnataka and Puducherry found space in the ignominious list in 2014, this year they are out of the list. However, all other south Indian states, which did not find it in the earlier list, did find a place in the 2015 statistics.

Kerala has five such cases while Andhra Pradesh had two and Tamil Nadu and Telangana had one each.

Like in the case of honour killings, the states of Uttar Pradesh (383) and Gujarat (122) find place in top three states in murder cases that were due to love affairs. Bihar had 140 such cases while it did not have any honour killing.

Ninety-six people were killed due to political reasons with UP topping the list with 28 cases followed by Jharkhand (15), Kerala (12), Madhya Pradesh (10) and Karnataka (8).

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 1, 2016)

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