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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Modi brought Chief of Defence Staff post to declare himself ‘President for Life’: Christian Pastor

Christian Pastor William Edward Kuntam, while speaking at an annual church function said that PM Modi has created the CDS post so that “he can bring in presidential form of government and declare himself ‘President for life’.”

On August 15th this year PM Modi announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to integrate the functioning of the three defence services (army, navy and air-force) and prepare for future warfare which will require joint theatre commands. The idea behind creation of this post, which would be senior to all three defence chiefs, was also to have a single point military advisor for the government. 

The demand for having a CDS has been raised on multiple occasions, and the PM’s decision was welcomed by defence experts who called it ‘Bharat’s most significant defence reform in 72 years’.

Gen VP Malik, who was the Army Chief during the Kargil War said, “Thank you PM for announcing the historic step of institution of CDS. This step will make our national security more effective and more economical. It will ensure better jointmanship and multi-disciplinary coordination”.

So why is such a welcome, non-political move being distorted by Pastor William Edward Kuntam, a Protestant Pentecostal Pastor of the CSI (Church of South India) who runs the evangelical missionary outfit ‘Redeem Ministries’ along with his wife in both AP and Bengaluru?

The advent of the NDA Government with Narendra Modi as PM has not gone down particularly well with Abrahamic fundamentalists, and his return to the centre with an even bigger majority has irked them further which has resulted in them trying to create panic among citizens by giving out false information. 

We would generally expect religious people to keep politics out of religious sermons. As citizens of the country, they have every right to comment and make people aware of ‘issues of national interest’; as long as they are doing it honestly and without malafide intentions.

However, comments like those made by William Kuntam are outrageous and actually pose a threat to national security by seeding misinformation in minds of common citizens. We need remember that religion is a potent weapon, especially exclusivist, proselytizing religions that tightly control every aspect of a believer’s life. Therefore, an illusion of threat can be created especially by religious heads such as pastors and imams. Such rumour mongers have to be dealt with an iron hand so that they do not fool people.

Even more harrowing is the fact that Kuntam has been the State Secretary of Evangelical Student of India. He claims to have preached or conducted seminars in prestigious institutes like IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Gundy, IISC Bangalore, JNU Delhi, Central University Pondicherry, JIPMER Pondicherry and CMC Vellore. 

We all know young minds are impressionable and with fear mongering of the kind he has indulged in, one wonders how much harm he could have done. Home ministry should take immediate action in national interest. 

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