West Bengal Minority Commission has sought an “updated status report” of the cases in which people belonging to various minority communities are languishing in jails without a trial.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Intaj Ali Shah, the chairperson of the commission, said thousands of people belonging to minority communities are in jails for a long time without facing a trial.
“The report available to us is quite old and we want an updated report on status of court cases initiated against people belonging to the minority communities. An updated record is required to understand the plight of the minorities lodged in jails. This is a matter of concern,” said the former justice.
Quoting a report available with the commission, Shah said 7,330 people from minority communities were found languishing in different correctional homes in Murshidabad — the district has the maximum number of minority community people in West Bengal, roughly 80 percent of the population.
According to him, in neighbouring Malda, another minority-dominated district, 3,682 people belonging to minority communities are in jails for over five years, and the trial of their cases is yet to start. “Similarly, in Birbhum district, the number of such inmates is 2,354, in South 24-Parganas it is 5,396, in North 24-Parganas it is 2,898 and in Burdwan the figure is 2,145,” he added.
“The government should take the matter seriously,” he said, adding that the present dispensation has taken the “right approach” towards the minorities. Shah observed that police personnel must be more “realistic and rational” while investigating the cases against the minority community people.
“The attitude of the police should be such that people belonging to the minority groups do not feel scared of them,” Shah added.