Controversy Erupts Over RSS Leaders’ Another Closed-Door Meeting With Prominent Muslims

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Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Months after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat held discussions with some prominent Muslim citizens, leaders of the Hindutva group held another secret meeting with some Muslim delegates.

This meeting, also attended by representatives of some prominent Muslim organisations, was held at former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s residence on 14 January. Indresh Kumar, Ram Lal and Krishna Gopal represented RSS at the meeting. Jung, former election commissioner SY Quraishi, journalist and political leader Shahid Siddiqui and hotelier Saeed Sherwani were present from the Muslim side. The RSS leaders were reportedly authorised by Bhagwat to continue to talk with the Muslims.

Lt. Gen. (retired) Zameeruddin Shah, who was there during the first meeting on August 22 last year, was not present in the second round of talks, but representatives from Muslim groups – Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Deoband and Ajmer Dargah were part of the latest meeting. Malik Mohtasim Khan represented the Jamaat while the two factions of Jamiat were represented by Niaz Faruqi and Fazlur Rahman.

As reports of the meeting emerged and Muslim leaders started drawing flak from several quarters, member of JIH Central Advisory Council Malik Mohatasim Khan said it was not a secret meeting since representatives of prominent Muslim organisations took part in it.

“Talks were held in a pleasant atmosphere. Muslim representatives presented their issues. The recent statements by the RSS chief were raised with them pointing out that it will worsen the situation. Such statements should be avoided to maintain peace. They were told that law and order has broken down in the country. Since RSS has control and gives guidance to the BJP, they should tell the BJP about it,” said Khan in a statement on Thursday.

Muslim representatives, he said, talked about stopping mob lynchings, hate speeches, unnecessary detentions and bulldozer politics, resolving the land eviction problem, initiating action against those calling for genocide, ending discrimination against Muslims in administration and judiciary and development of Muslims’ economic and educational standards.

“They admitted many things. For example, the atmosphere of hate should be ended. They said that they are against hatred. We asked them to act against the hatred and educate the Hindu society,” said Khan.

The RSS leaders also raised issues related to nationalism, cow, and talaq among Muslims. Muslim representatives put their perspective on these issues, he said.

“During the meeting, they raised the issue of Mathura and Kashi mosques for a short span of time…..When this issue was raised, we immediately told them that the issue is not about give and take. This is a matter of title suit. This is a matter of evidence… This is not a matter related to one or two mosques,” said Khan.

He added that they did not inform the public about the meeting because they did not feel that the meeting was big enough to inform the press. There were no significant outcomes from the meeting, he said

However, when reports of the meeting emerged, people started slamming Muslim organisations and representatives.

Dr. Asma Tyeba Zahra, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, criticised those who are meeting with the RSS leaders. She said that they are making overtures to save their organisations.

“These Leaders are not intellectual in any way. What are their qualifications and who do they represent? The Muslim community has given up on all jamaats long back. This exercise must be to save their own organisations? The community will be pushed in more ghulami (slavery) by these meetings,” she tweeted.

Journalist Wasim Akram Tyagi asked Muslim representatives to hold a press conference to inform the country about the meetings.

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