Ok, so you've heard of the Rajinder Sachar committee report. At the least, you've heard of a report doing the rounds - the one which first tried to split the army across communal lines, and later lamented the poor state of Muslims in the country.
The conclusion of the report is something we all expected. Muslims are worse off in many areas of health, education, employment than even the Dalit community. Most Muslims live in ghettos, in slums, and have lower-than-average access to credit, to education, and to jobs. The only area where the community has adequate representation, the report says, is in our jails. Sordid.
No one can argue with the conclusions of the report, in terms of the facts presented. However, once the report came out, we had the usual cacophony of voices, criticising all and sundry for the community's backwardness, arguing how the discriminatory Indian state was jailing more Muslims considering them to be terrorists, and of course, asking for reservations for Muslims, further reservations for Dalit Muslims, and so on. Fortunately, it didn't reach a high enough crescendo to actually ask for reservations in Parliament!
We should examine these arguments in some detail. Let's take the easiest one first - the question of a far higher Muslim "representation" in our jails than in the population. Why is this so? But before that, we should ask, is it really a sign that the state discriminates against Muslims? To answer that question, we should impose another question on ourselves. Is the number of criminals 'produced' by a community only a factor of its population? So, should we have precisely 80% Hindu criminals, of which 52% are OBCs, some 2% are Brahmins, and precisely 13% Muslim criminals? This kind of pseudo-logic is one propagated by our 'intellectuals' (read commies). The argument goes - since everyone is equal, everyone is equally likely to commit a crime (as the women's rights advocates argue - every man is a 'potential rapist'). Since everyone is equally likely to commit a crime, the number of criminals who belong to a community should be proportional to its population (actually, these worthies would say "male population", but that would be blatantly sexist). Ergo, if a community has a higher 'representation' in the jails, it is being targeted. Conventional wisdom, don't you agree?
Unfortunately, this is just convenient wisdom. Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system will tell you that factors like a high level of education, fruitful employment, family support and a standing in the community all go a long way in keeping people away from crime. Therefore, communities that are less likely to foster these characteristics are more likely to have criminals amongst their midst, not to mention the fact that in this country, it is the rich that get away with murder while the poor pay for even the slightest crime.
So, yes, there is discrimination, but it is economic, not social. The State is targeting the poor, not the Muslims.