'Communal' Rashtra is a real goal for some and a threat for all

Anmol Jain

Jul 06, 2024, 07:27 PM | Updated 07:27 PM IST

Call for "Muslim Rashtra" is not just rhetoric!

Dear Reader,

The call for "Muslim Rashtra" is not just rhetoric. It is a real goal for some. And a national security threat for all.

Firhad Hakim, a senior minister in West Bengal and Kolkata's Mayor, urged Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam, saying it assures a Muslim's path to heaven.

On July 3, at a Quran recitation event in Kolkata, Hakim claimed that converting even one non-Muslim would ensure a Muslim’s entry to “jannat” (heaven).

  • Hakim described non-Muslims as "blighted" and urged Muslims to extend “Dawat-e-Islam” (invitation to Islam) to non-Muslims to make Allah happy.

  • Hakim said he felt proud seeing thousands of Muslims in skull caps — strong, united, and invincible.

Social Media Outcry: The speech went viral on July 5, drawing widespread condemnation of Hakim and his dangerous agenda to turn Bengal into a "Muslim Rashtra".

  • Some compared Hakim to Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, known for his role in the 1946 Bengal violence against Hindus.

Previous Controversies: Hakim had once claimed that half of Bengal’s population would speak Urdu, stirring concerns about his majoritarian views.

  • 'Mini Pakistan': In 2016, Hakim referred to Garden Reach in Kolkata as a "Mini Pakistan".

Sociologist Dev Lahiri argued that Hakim’s rhetoric is extreme and akin to radical Islamist ideologies.

Legacy of Intolerance: While Hakim’s comments are under scrutiny, there has been no official response yet from the Bengal government or Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

  • Hakim’s rhetoric echoes past instances of radical calls for religious conversion and communal division, reminiscent of historic tensions in Bengal.

Hakim's call for conversion has ignited a firestorm, revealing deep-seated bigotry, religious intolerance, and radicalism in Bengal.

With changing demography thanks to illegal immigrants from across the border, the signs are even more worrying.

All of this has direct implications for India's national security. So today, let's also talk about PM Modi's approach to it in his third term. Read on!

Have a great weekend!

Anmol N Jain

Old Hands, New Roles, And Unknown Gunmen!

The Modi government is shaping India’s national security framework by elevating experienced hands to key positions.

Continuity and Strategy: Ajit Doval continues as National Security Advisor, ensuring a steady hand at the helm.

The new appointees will work under Doval within the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Here are some key appointments:

  • Rajinder Khanna (Additional NSA): Former R&AW chief and current Deputy NSA. This is the first time someone has filled this position.

  • T V Ravichandran (Deputy NSA): Former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

  • Pawan Kapoor (Deputy NSA): Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.

  • Pankaj Singh (Deputy NSA): Retains his role focusing on internal security.

What this means: Minimal changes in the NSCS suggest a steady approach to India’s security policy, particularly in handling terrorism:

  • Islamist terrorism from Pakistan, Khalistani extremism with support from the US and Canada, Internal security challenges

The Unknown Gunmen: Several Pakistani-origin terrorists and Khalistanis have been killed in recent times. Allegations from Pakistan, the US, and Canada link these actions to the Indian security establishment.

  • Canada’s Prime Minister accused Indian agents of killing Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The US claimed it thwarted a plot against another terrorist, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu.

Consistency is the key: No changes in the Cabinet Committee on Security — Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, and Home Minister Amit Shah — this reflects a unified approach.

  • The reappointments and new roles signal India’s intent to persist with its hardline stance on terrorism.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emphasised this in April, warning, "We will not spare any of them…will kill them in India and outside if required."

Modi government is doubling down on its security strategy with experienced leaders to ensure a robust response to threats, both domestic and international.

New Laws, Good Old Misinformation!

Dear Reader,

It is as if we cannot talk enough on misinformation and disinformation.

After Agnipath, highways, airports, bullet trains, and even EVs, a misinformation campaign is underway to undermine India’s new criminal laws.

Déjà vu: Remember the GST rollout in 2017? Similar tactics were used to spread false information and create confusion. The government had to step in repeatedly to clarify facts.

New targets: Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) – the three new criminal laws are facing a similar onslaught of fake news.

First salvo: Reports falsely claimed the first case under the new system was against a street vendor, implying that the laws target the poor.

  • Home Minister Amit Shah had to step in to clarify.

Second: Critics claimed the laws were enacted too quickly.

  • Reality: the Bills were thoroughly debated in Parliament and reviewed by a Parliamentary Standing Committee, incorporating over 50 changes from consultations with experts.

Third: Claims emerged that doctors face harsher penalties under the new laws up from 2 years to 5 years.

  • Truth: The maximum punishment for medical negligence remains unchanged at two years, not five as falsely claimed.

  • Section 106 of BNS just adds fines for negligence.

Context: The new criminal laws aim to modernize India's criminal justice system, replacing outdated British-era laws.

  • From 'Penal Code' to 'Nyaya Sanhita' new laws intend to shift the focus from 'punishment' to 'justice' as is clear from the names.

Need for clarity: As with GST, the new laws are facing concerted misinformation. The government must combat misinformation:

- with clear communication, and

- possibly leverage the new laws against those spreading falsehoods.

The government’s task is to ensure the public receives accurate information and trust is maintained.

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