In a significant development, a closed-door meeting between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and a group of 'eminent' Muslim personalities took place in the end of August at the RSS headquarters at Keshav Kunj in Delhi's Jhandewalan.
The group included 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 and businessman Saeed Shervani.
From the RSS side, Sah Sarkaryavah Krishna Gopal was also present besides Mohan Bhagwat.
What Transpired at the Meeting?
During the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, a wide range of issues was discussed, including the Gyanvapi dispute, hate crimes, and population control.
One of the members of the group, who did not wish to be named, said that the aim of the visit was to "highlight issues pertaining to the Muslim community and do something about the communal divide that exists".
"We brought up concerns of the Muslim community and also asked them what their (RSS') issues with Muslims were," the member said.A person who attended the meeting at Keshav Kunj
The member said that the group "did not want any media attention around the visit" and that their "initiative should not be misunderstood."
"We are concerned about what is happening (in the country) and that is why we went for this meeting," the member said.
According to an individual present at the meeting, Mohan Bhagwat also put forth his views on various issues.
What Did Mohan Bhagwat Say?
The RSS chief reminded the group of his remark: "Why look for a Shivling in every mosque?" He said that this should have been taken forward by Muslims to bridge the divide between them and the RSS.
According to one of the persons who attended the meeting, Mohan Bhagwat said that "Muslims and Islam are an integral part of India" but he added that "Muslims should stop calling Hindus as Kafirs". To this one of the group members replied, "The term was used in a particular context during Prophet Mohammad's time and it isn't for Hindus of today at all".
During the meeting, it was asserted by the RSS side that this was an "ice-breaker," and that a bigger meeting with "Muslim intellectuals" would be organised later.
The RSS chief has assigned four representatives from within the Sangh to act as pointspersons with us."A person who attended the meeting.
The Quint reached out to four of the people who attended the meeting, as well as representatives from the RSS. We received responses from three of those who were present. Their responses are part of the story. They did not wish to be named.