RSS chief meets Muslim personalities, discusses ways to boost communal harmony

Updated on Sep 21, 2022 04:43 AM IST

The meeting comes at a time when instances of hate crime and polarisation are becoming more common, and against the backdrop of a host of religious issues and conflicts -- from the legality of hijabs in schools to the ownership of religious sites -- being debated before the courts.

This is not the first such meeting between the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and representatives of the Muslim community. (HT file photo)
This is not the first such meeting between the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and representatives of the Muslim community. (HT file photo)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat met a group of eminent personalities from the Muslim community a few weeks ago to discuss a host of issues pertaining to maintaining amity between different communities and faiths, and steps that could be taken to ensure there is no polarisation and conflict.

According to a person aware of the details, the meeting with Bhagwat was sought by the group that consisted of former LG of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, former chief election commissioner SY Qureshi, former vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, philanthropist Syed Sherwani and journalist Shahid Siddiqui.

“They said they wanted to discuss issues of relevance to the community and the political and social developments that have an overarching impact on the country and its people,” added the person.

The meeting comes at a time when instances of hate crime and polarisation are becoming more common, and against the backdrop of a host of religious issues and conflicts -- from the legality of hijabs in schools to the ownership of religious sites -- being debated before the courts.

The discussion pivoted around forming a strategy to bring together representatives of all communities including Sikhs and the Christians to formalise the process of ending strife, and ensuring there is amity between communities.

The five members who were present for the meeting did not respond to queries from HT, but a second person familiar with the discussion said the group underlined the need to identify areas of disagreement that need to be worked on and also commonalities that could be used to cement ties.

“The idea was to improve relationships and Bhagwat ji agreed that to take India forward, inter-community relations must improve,” the second person said. Both persons denied that the issue of Hindus seeking permission to offer prayers at the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi was discussed at the meeting. This issue is currently before the courts.

This is not the first such meeting between the RSS chief and representatives of the Muslim community. The RSS has been reaching out to the community for years and intensifies the outreach depending on the political and social scenario. For instance, ahead of the Ram Temple verdict in 2019, it held meetings with community representatives and religious leaders to ensure there were no violent protests. Bhagwat himself met Arshad Madani, the head of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) to underscore the need of accepting the court verdict without resorting to protests.

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