Secret meetings are meant to serve the interests of only RSS, not of Muslims is a common refrain among Muslim leaders
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Reacting to the reports of meetings of Muslim intellectuals with Mohan Bhagwat, Muslim leaders expressed the view that it is not wrong to meet with Rashtriya Swayanmsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, but the “secret meetings” with select people without any record is meant to serve the vested interests of the Sangh Parivar.
Recently, a group of prominent Muslims including former Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lieutenant General (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah, Rashtriya Lok Dal national vice-president Shahid Siddiqui met the RSS chief. It was a closed-door meeting which came to light on Tuesday.
According to reports, many issues concerning Muslims and the RSS were raised from both sides. The RSS chief reportedly expressed his objections over the cow slaughter, Jihad and use of the word “Kafir” while Muslim delegations raised the issue of attacks on Muslims, hate and demonisation of Muslims in the country.
“It was a great initiative. We discussed that both sides have to address their respective communities and request them to respect each other. Bhagwat ji raised issues of Hindus being called Kafir, which Hindus generally see as an abuse. Muslims call a non-believer kafir. But we told him that it is grossly wrong and should be stopped,” Qureshi was quoted by The Print as saying.
On Thursday, Bhagwat met up with Umer Ilyasi, Chief of All India Muslim Imam Organization, and visited a mosque at Kasturba Gandhi Marg in New Delhi.
“Mohan Bhagwat is the father of the nation and the head of the largest social organisation. The chief talked to the children about what is taught inside the Madrasa,” said Ilyasi talking about the meeting.
Such meetings with some selected Muslims are being viewed with suspicion by prominent Muslim leaders.
Reacting to the meetings with Bhagwat, Zafarul Islam Khan, former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, told Clarion India that he supports the meeting of Muslims with various groups including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS for the sake of bridging the gap between the two communities. But it should not be in the closet.
“But for any such meeting to be fruitful, the meeting must include people representing various thoughts and organisations. People of one kind, in this case “sarkari Muslims”, should not hold secret meetings,” said Khan.
He suggested that there should be preparation for any such meeting, a larger group should take part and minutes and records must be kept and shared with major stakeholders in the community. “Without this, such meetings will only serve the likes of the RSS. I have a feeling that whenever they are in trouble and hard-pressed because of bad press they seek such meetings. After this, a message is sent to some quarters, especially foreign powers which are alarmed at the misdeeds and declarations of people attached to the RSS. If this was the sole aim of such meetings, nothing will come out of them. We will be only used and thrown,” noted Khan.
Navaid Hamid, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), also had no issue with the dialogue with the Sangh Parivar. But he is of the view that such meetings should be held with consensus.
“We need to understand that dialogue with an organisation like RSS is a delicate issue. There should be consensus in the community at least among the major Muslim organisations to decide about the points which need to be discussed with any leader of Sangh Parivar. Sangh has a history of demonising Muslims,” said Hamid.
He suggested that Muslim should talk to Sangh Parivar according to the past behaviour of them.
“Meeting with some individuals is a good beginning. But I doubt that this exercise would impact on the future strategy of Sangh Parivar,” he said.