Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Muslim Policemen in Gujarat story - ToI could have wrong data

A couple of days back, I found a Times of India story circulating in Facebook. The story is here:
Gujarat Tops States in number of Muslim policemen.
The story says that ToI filed a RTI inquiry to the Union Home Ministry for the number of Muslim policemen in all states and their percentage as part of the total police force in each state. When they got back the numbers, they found that Gujarat actually had the best stats among all the states for which data was available.
Gujarat, according to ToI, had 47,424 policemen in total. of them 5021 were Muslims.
This story did not pass the smell test for me.
In the past few years, Narendra Modi, CM of Gujarat, has become a controversial figure. He was CM during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Then he reinvented himself as a "growth" leader. A vocal set of supporters cheer him on (such as during the Nano deal). Some journalists have responded by showing that the Gujarat "story" is not without flaws. They cite some numbers, the other side cites some numbers and it is all confusing.
The above article's focus on Muslim policemen in a police force seemed unusual to focus on. I have a hunch that Muslims are severely underrepresented in the police force (as in many other jobs) all through India. I can understand that in different states the percentage will be different. But, Gujarat was the best in representation? Not even second or third? The very state that people were arguing over? It seemed unlikely to me. So, I did some investigation of these numbers.
First, the number of Muslim policemen and the number of total policemen in each state is available in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This is a government website. If you click on Crime 2011 in the left hand bar in that website, choose Tables and Go to the Table 17.12, you will find the breakdown of Muslim, SC, ST policemen in each state in India as of 2010.
When people quote crime statistics in India, they use the NCRB data. They supply raw data that you can analyze yourself.
In other words, Times of India need not have filed an RTI query at all. The information was at a Google search away, in a government website.

Now, take a look at the numbers for Gujarat and you will immediately see that they are different from the Times numbers.
                                                     NCRB                                       ToI
Number of Total policemen          71670                                       47424
Number of Muslim policemen      3087                                         5021
The NCRB shows a 4.3% representation in Gujarat, a lot different from the 10% they have from ToI data.
Now, I used the NCRB data and tried to see for a few states, how Gujarat held up to "the best representation. The numbers are below:
State Population(2001) Muslim Population(2001) Percent in General Size of Policeforce Muslims in Policeforce Muslim Percent in Police Difference(%)
Tamil Nadu 62405679 3470647 5.56 95745 3061 3.19 -2.3
Andhra Pradesh 76210007 6986856 9.16 89404 8933 9.99 0.82
Madhya Pradesh 60348123 3841449 6.36 72505 2583 3.56 -2.80
Gujarat 50671017 4592854 9.04 71670 3087 4.30 -4.75
Haryana 21144564 1222916 5.78 50365 415 0.82 -4.95
Kerala 31841374 7863842 24.69 45003 3567 7.92 -16.7
Karnataka 52850562 6463127 12.22 74699 4796 6.42 -5.80

In other words, Gujarat is not on top, but not on bottom either. It is certainly not the best state for Muslim representation in police force; nor does that representation EXCEED the population percentage of Muslims. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Madhya Pradesh are better and Haryana is about the same as Gujarat.
It is possible that the NCRB numbers are wrong, and the ToI numbers are right, but I doubt it. The total numbers correspond with other data such as density of policemen in the NCRB data.
ToI should explain why they focussed on this number; and why they did not just pick it up from the NCRB website.

1 comment:

Spoilsport said...

well said. this I will try to bring to the notice of the TOI editorial team. good work. Pl do keep it up