At least 47 out of 125— nearly 37 per cent— people killed in shootouts by police in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh were Muslims, despite the persecuted community comprising of only 19 per cent of the total population, according to a report of The Economic Times.
The report, quoting official data, said that 37 per cent of the victims were Muslims, adding that in total 6,476 shootouts took place in the state.
“Most of these encounters were related to cases in western UP, including Shamli, Aligarh, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. Police records also revealed that 13,837 persons were arrested in these encounters which led to injuring 2,419 accused persons,” the report added.
In the first year of the Yogi Adityanath — the Hindu nationalist UP Chief Minister—nearly 45 persons lost their lives in police encounters, of which 16 were Muslims, as per the official data.
Since March 2017, the highest number of investigations that led to encounters have been from criminal cases registered in Meerut, Agra and Bareilly, followed by Kanpur, Noida, Varanasi and Prayagraj.
The data revealed that the number of Brahmins killed in the past three years in police encounters did not exceed 13, despite being a Hindu majority state.
Mohammed Aslam, professor of political science at Allahabad University, said that in the present environment of hysteria around nationalism and Hindutva, Muslims felt “more vulnerable and demonised” when members of the community are targeted by law and order agencies.
“My fear is this will highly demoralise them which will also affect their access to legal and judicial intervention. Even if they know they are not criminals, will their voices be heard?” Aslam was quoted by the paper as saying.
BJP spokesman Chandramohan denied charges against the state government.