Majority prisoners in Indian jails are Dalits, Muslims

Representtaive Image (Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay)

Two-third of prisoners in Indian jails are Dalits, tribals and from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 19% are Muslims and 66% of 4.66 lakh inmates are either illiterate or have not studied beyond Class X, the latest statistics on prisons in the country have revealed.

Among the states, Uttar Pradesh houses the highest number of Muslim and Dalit prisoners while Madhya Pradesh has the highest proportion of tribal inmates.

The figures are given in the Prison Statistics 2018, which was put in public domain on Wednesday, after skipping the details on religion and caste in the reports by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of 2016 and 2017.

The 2018 figures for both convicts and undertrials – 33.49% OBCs, 20.68% Scheduled Castes, 11.56% Scheduled Tribes, 18.81% Muslims – are similar to the trend witnessed in the 2015 report.

  Undertrials Convicts Total
Hindus 211335 101216 312551
Muslims 63626 101216 87673
Sikhs 10413 6576 16989
Christians 9193 4693 13886
Others 2072 2956 5028

Among the 4.66 lakh inmates, Hindu prisoners account for 3.12 lakh followed by Muslims (87,673), Sikhs (16,989) and Christians (13,886).According to the latest report, Indian jails continue to remain overcrowded and is getting worse. The occupancy rate has increased to 117.6% (4.66 lakh) in 2018 compared to 115.1% (4.50 lakh) in 2017, 113.7% (4.33 lakh) in 2016 and 114.4% (4.19 lakh) in 2015. The capacity of Indian prisons at the end of 2018 was 3.96 lakh as against 3.91 lakh in 2017, 3.8 lakh in 2016 and 3.6 lakh in 2015.

When it comes to Muslim prisoners, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of Muslim prisoners at 27,459 (31.31% of total Muslim prisoners in the country) followed by West Bengal (8,401). Karnataka has 2,798 such prisoners.

An analysis on the basis of caste showed that 1.56 lakh prisoners belonged to OBCs while 96,420 were Dalits and 53,916 were tribals. When it comes to educational qualifications, 66.51% were either illiterates (1.33 lakh) or those who have studied up to Class X (1.76 lakh).

Uttar Pradesh also have the highest number of prisoners from Scheduled Caste -- 24,489 or 25.39% of such prisoners while Madhya Pradesh has 8,935 and Karnataka 2,803.

Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tribal prisoners at 15,500 followed by Chhattisgarh (6890). Karnataka has 1,254 prisoners belonging to Scheduled Tribes.







Scheduled Caste




Scheduled Tribe













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