Muslim leaders who met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat are “elite” and “have nothing to do with ground reality”, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has said.
Mr Owaisi, the chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), was speaking to reporters on a meeting between five Muslim leaders and Mr Bhagwat last month. RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
These five comprised former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, Delhi’s former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, former Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, former MP Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani.
“These people went and met him (Bhagwat). The whole world knows the RSS’ ideology, and you go and meet him. This elite section of the Muslim community, whatever they do, is the truth. But when we fight politically for our fundamental rights, we are shown in a bad light,” Mr Owaisi is heard saying in a video of the media interaction.
“This elite layer, which thinks it is very knowledgeable and has no touch with the ground reality, they are living comfortably and they go and meet the RSS chief. It is their democratic right, I do not question that, but they too don’t have a right to question us,” he added.
The RSS chief has been meeting Muslim leaders in an unprecedented outreach. Today, he called on Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the chief cleric of the All India Imam Organization, at a mosque in the heart of Delhi. It was described as a “closed door meeting” that last more than an hour.
Speaking about the discussions in last month’s meeting, former CEC Quraishi said Mr Bhagwat had told them thayt he was worried about the situation in the country. “I’m not happy with the atmosphere of disharmony. It is completely wrong. The country can move ahead only with cooperation and cohesion,” he quoted the RSS chief as saying.
Mr Bhagwat, he said, shared a couple of points that were of particular concern to him. One was cow slaughter, which upsets the Hindus, he said. “So we said it is banned practically across the country. The Muslims are law-abiding and if anyone violates it, it is a huge mistake and there should be punishment,” Mr Quraishi said.
The other was the use of the word “kafir” or non-believers, which “gave the Hindus a bad feeling”.