Kerala: Meeting Between RSS and Jamaat in Delhi Sparks Political Debate
The meeting between leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) held in January in Delhi has kicked up a political debate in Kerala. The ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has questioned the intention of the meeting and the discussions held.
The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, and state secretary of the CPI(M), M V Govindan, have demanded that both organisations disclose the discussions held. The Congress party and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the two major parties in the United Democratic Front (UDF), have refrained from questioning the meeting held.
Several Muslim organisations in the state, including the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama and the Kerala Muslim Jamaat, have lashed out at JIH for engaging with the RSS.
The JIH, however, has come up with an explanation of attending the meeting, saying it was “a mark of protest against RSS”. Meanwhile, Govindan termed both organisations of being the representatives of communalism and accused them of attempting to polarise the population.
‘MEETING OF FUNDAMENTALIST FORCES’
The meeting was reportedly held in Delhi at the residence of former Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, with the participation of RSS leaders and several Muslim organisations, including the JIH, Jamiyathul Ulama and scholars from the community.
The Kerala Chief Minister questioned the intention behind the meeting after the newspaper, Madhyamam, the daily run by JIH, carried the news of the meeting. He demanded the JIH disclose the discussions held in the meeting.
Vijayan questioned the engagement of the Muslim organisation with the RSS, whose affiliates continue to unleash unrelenting attacks on the minorities of the country.
“This is a compromise with the RSS agenda. Such communal elements are planning to unseat secularism and democratic values,” he said in a public meeting of the People’s Resistance Yatra of CPI(M)’s Kerala state unit.
Govindan termed both the RSS and JIH as communal organisations. Commenting on the silence of Congress and IUML, he said: “RSS will be the one most delighted by the silence of these parties”.
The JIH had accused the Chief Minister of Islamophobia for criticising the meeting. Govindan, during his interactions with the press, brushed aside such allegations as “baseless.”
“The usage of such a term against a party which has always stood behind the minorities and fought both minority and majority fundamentalism, itself exposes the hypocrisy of the JIH,” he said.
‘RSS CONTROLS THE GOVT’
Reacting to the allegations of CPI(M), in an interview with the New Indian Express, Arif Ali, a senior leader of the Jamaat, said that the organisation participated in the talks since the RSS “controls the Union government.”
The organisation claimed that attacks on minorities and “bulldozer politics” were discussed during the meeting with the RSS leadership.
Notably, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been raising the question of why the JIH was the only organisation from Kerala to attend the meeting.
Another senior JIH leader, Mujeeb Rahman, claimed JIH was not the only organisation to hold talks with RSS, but was part of a group of representatives who met the Right-wing leadership.
‘BETTER DISSOLVE THE ORGANISATION’
The strongest reaction to the meeting came from the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama leader Umar Faizy who demanded JIH dissolve itself instead of engaging with RSS.
“The Jamaat is afraid of RSS and fears that the government would ban the organisation,” he said.
The IUML leaders, P K Kunhalikutty and M K Muneer had said that there were no specific circumstances demanding the meeting with RSS, considering the open call given by Right-wing organisations to lynch the Muslims.
A. P. Aboobacker Musliyar of the Kerala Muslim Jamat claimed JIH had committed a “historic blunder” while the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen alleged that JIH had some “vested interests.”
After one month of the meeting, JIH continues to face stiff questions from within and outside the community, while the RSS and other Right-wing forces remain tight-lipped on the meeting.
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