Maharashtra Police to recruit more Muslims
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Jolted by a perception in some sections of society that the state police may not be objective or are even biased, Maharashtra is looking for a "better and more representative face" for its force.
"We want more Muslims to be recruited in the police force for a greater representation of minorities within the system. This will give us a better understanding of certain problems as well," Maharashtra Director General of Police A N Roy told The Indian Express. "Of course, recruitment will always be merit-based. We want a better and more representative face for the Maharashtra Police, and major efforts are on in this regard as very few Muslim candidates come forward."
Although Muslims form about 11 per cent of Maharashtra's population of 10 crore, their presence in the state police has traditionally been below 5 per cent. The gap has begun to matter at a time when extremists in the community are increasingly suspected of involvement in terror attacks, and communal tensions have also highlighted the need for more sensitive policing, experts say.
Roy's observation comes days after Muslim mobs had targeted the police in the communally-sensitive town of Malegaon last Monday following a bomb blast which killed four people and injured scores when Muslims broke their Ramzan fast. Again last week, Rabodi in Thane district was hit by communal violence over the location of a controversial Navratri arch. Asserting that the area had been simmering with Hindu-Muslim tensions for a few days, some locals accused the police of not acting in time to prevent trouble. Fresh communal trouble broke out in the northern town of Dhule on Sunday, forcing police to fire in the air and impose curfew.
The DGP said instructions had been sent to unit commanders across the state to increase Muslims' representation in the force. Although the number had gone up to 6-7 per cent of total recruitment last year, it needed to be improved. "We are approaching schools and colleges in various areas, and encouraging Muslims to come forward for police recruitment. Several minority organisations are also being approached. We have told them that if they want to conduct some kind of pre-recruitment training, we will give them all the assistance needed," he added.
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