Rajnath Singh’s Comments On Terrorism & Indian Muslims

Several interpretations can be drawn from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s comment that the global terrorist group called “Islamic State” has failed to gain a foothold in India. Though the terrorist group, reportedly, has made attempts to establish itself here, it has failed. Singh also commented that despite India having the second largest population of Muslims in the world, this terrorist group has not succeeded here. Singh has also credited his government for succeeding in keeping this group at bay. Well, his comments certainly suggest and give proof of the success achieved by his government in not permitting this terrorist group gain entry here, which has created chaos in several parts of the world. In other words, India appears to have gained much greater success against this group than even the superpowers. Perhaps, this is what Singh was keen to convey.

At this point, it is pertinent to correct some misperceptions, one of which is the possibility of this terrorist organisation’s entry into India being considered great because of this country’s large Muslim population. This is equivalent to assuming that Indian Muslims can easily be influenced to join this group. Certainly, most Indian Muslims are aware of the terrorist activities taking place in other parts of the world. So are non-Muslims. However, most have limited knowledge about the group labelled as IS. If a rudimentary survey is conducted in a Muslim-dominated area and they are posed the question about what they understand by IS, most are least likely to come up with an answer regarded as correct.

Undeniably, an attempt has been made to defame the Muslim community by labelling Muslim terrorist groups operating in different parts of the world as Islamic. It may be noted, separatist organisations and/or militant groups operating in Jammu & Kashmir are not linked with IS. The prevalent tendency is to link them with Pakistan. Besides, cultural differences between Indian Muslims and most terrorist groups, IS, Al-Qaeda etc, cannot be sidelined. Cultural and regional differences even among different militant groups labelled as “IS” cannot be ignored. For example, the identity and agenda of Afghan terrorists cannot be viewed as the same as that of those in Syria, Libya, Iraq or other parts of the world.

It cannot be ignored that some recent terrorist operations in France and UK have been allegedly carried by Muslim citizens of those countries. In several cases, they have also been born there. On what basis can their militant aspirations be linked with Indian Muslims, who have not displayed any terrorist inclination? Certainly, there have been incidents of communal violence, extremism, etc in India but in these cases, the primary victims have been Muslims.

The perception held about Muslims having militant tendencies simply because they are Muslims needs to be changed. Islam stands for peace. Also, the assumption that IS has failed to gain entry here primarily because of the efforts made by the government is not totally correct. Attempts have certainly been made to influence Indian Muslims through videos, etc, but without any success. When Indian Muslims are not at all inclined in this direction, prospects of their being motivated towards militancy are as good as non-existent.

Nevertheless, if the government takes credit for having succeeded in preventing this group from gaining any foothold in India, let it. But then, this is equivalent to the government propagating its calibre in not allowing foreign elements influence the local populace towards aggressive designs. If the government has “succeeded” on this front, it needs to exercise its potential in controlling aggressive designs in other areas too. Yes, this demands action against those taking law and order in their own hands and targeting innocent citizens, including Muslims and Dalits. Serious action still remains pending against those who have lynched citizens on issues linked with slaughter of cows and/or alleged consumption of beef.

If the government can succeed in preventing a major militant group from influencing the second largest Muslim population in the world, it should not be a difficult task for it to keep a check on the aggressive designs of self-styled gaurakshaks. Only a minor percentage of the Indian population is indulging in such behaviour and the majority is condemning it strongly. It is feared, if the union government does not check these communal activities, the gaurakshaks are likely to continue, even increase the same. Yes, it is accepted that cow is a holy animal for Hindus and cow slaughter is banned. If anyone indulges in any illegal activity, action must be taken against him as permitted by law. Each cow-lynching incident indulged in by gaurakshaks is a criminal activity. Union Home Minister must pay adequate attention to this problem. This is an internal issue. If, as he claims, his government has succeeded in not letting Indian Muslims be influenced by IS, the government can certainly succeed in checking anti-Muslim communal activities being promoted by a few extremist elements. Only sincere steps are needed in this direction!