RSS chief Bhagwat visits mosque, cleric calls him 'Rashtra Pita'
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat visited a mosque in Delhi on Thursday and held a meeting with the chief cleric of the All India Imam Organization, Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, who called Bhagwat Rashtra Pita. Meanwhile speaking about Muslim leaders meeting Bhagwat last month, Hyderabad MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi called them "elite" and detached from ground reality.
Delhi | RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat held a meeting with Dr Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam of All India Imam Organization, at Kasturba Gandhi Marg mosque today pic.twitter.com/vxfo0IPsMa— ANI (@ANI) September 22, 2022
- Bhagwat has been meeting Muslim leaders recently, which is surprising to many as the RSS is a Hindu-supremacist organization.
- This is seen in light of the controversies regarding the Karnataka Hijab case and the Nupur Sharma case, which have furthered communal polarization.
- On the Gyanvapi mosque case, taking a dig at Hindu groups Bhagwat had asked, "Why look for Shivling in every mosque?"
Bhagwat had a closed-door meeting with Ilyasi with went on for over an hour, following which Ilyasi chorused Bhagwat's statement saying that Hindus and Muslims have the same DNA, it's just the method of worshipping that is different. Bhagwat later visited a mazaar and then a madrassa in Azad Market area where he interacted with students and learnt about their curriculum.
दिल्ली में मस्जिद, मज़ार के बाद मदरसे में पहुंचे आरएसएस चीफ मोहन भागवत। आज़ाद मार्किट के एक मदरसे में बच्चों से की मुलाक़ात। मदरसों की पढ़ाई के बारे में जाना।— Shuaib Raza | شعیب رضا (@ShoaibRaza87) September 22, 2022
पहली बार किसी मदरसे में अचानक पहुंचे थे मोहन भागवत।
Ilyasi's son Suhaib said that they very happy that Bhagwat accepted their invitation and visited the mosque. He said that it would send out a very good message to the country. RSS spokesperson Sunil Ambekar said that the Sarsanghchalak meets people from all walks of life and it was a part of the continuous general samvaad process.
On August 22, five Muslim intellectuals including 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 had met Bhagwat. They discussed the "atmosphere of disharmony" in the country and reportedly both sides agreed to stop divisive rhetoric.
Speaking to reporters, Owaisi lambasted the five leaders for meeting Bhagwat last month. Calling them the "elite section" of the Muslim community, he said that whatever they do is considered right, but when parties like AIMIM try to politically fight for their fundamental rights, they are projected as villains. He said the elites are living comfortably and have no touch with ground reality.
Ilyasi calling Bhagwat the Rashtra Pita raised many eyebrows, as the title was conferred to Mahatma Gandhi. There have been efforts by Hindu right-wing groups of stripping the title off of Gandhi as they consider him guilty of Partition and "giving away" Pakistan. They called for Gandhi's face to be removed from the currency. The RBI issued a statement in June denying such rumors.