Mumbai: Senior Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader and mentor to the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) Indiresh Kumar urged Pakistan to “reflect on the seven separatist movements within its own borders” rather than “mislead the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mr Kumar was speaking at a Roza-Iftaar party organised by the MRM. The event had been shrouded in controversy after it was revealed that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, had been invited for the event but following a public outcry after the Pampore incident (when eight Indian security personnel were killed in an attack on a bus) the invitation had been withdrawn.
The RSS has since tried hard to distance itself from the programme, even issuing a formal clarification that the MRM was not affiliated to the RSS, but that Mr Kumar, high up in the Sangh’s hierarchy, had mentored the MRM.
Mr. Kumar’s address before the formal breaking of the Ramzaan fast was aimed at reinforcing the RSS’ tough stance on Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks which the invitation to the Pakistani envoy may have diluted.
“Why do you want to a horrible neighbour, rather than a good one? I meet people from Pakistan and I tell them you have separatist movements in Baluchistan, Gilgit, Baltistan, Sindh, Pakhtoonistan — at least seven within your own borders, why do you mislead the people of Kashmir?” he said, with BJP MLAs from Jammu and Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Kohli and Lal Singh in the audience.
“We do not hate you (Pakistan), but you must reflect why you want to be the black sheep of the neighbourhood family,” Mr. Kumar added.
The RSS leader recounted that he had visited the second largest Muslim seminary in the world, the Dar-ul-uloom Deoband, and had spoken to Maulana Madani, who had enquired from him the cause of distrust between Muslims and other communities in India. “I told him that when organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, which in English means a group dedicated to service, serves violence and death, mistrust is bound to crop up,” he said.
“There should be dialogue, and rather than be rigid in your beliefs, you should be truthful to them,” he added. “That is the reason the MRM has organised this Iftaar,” he said.
Union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Nihal Chand were present at the function, along with BJP MP M.J. Akbar, leaders from the BJP — Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Hina Bhatt, representatives of the missions of Syria and Kyrgyzstan and the Vice Chancellors of Aligarh Muslim University and the Jamia Millia Islamia.