A group of Muslim intellectuals, including former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, recently met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat and chalked out a plan to strengthen communal harmony in the country, sources said on Tuesday.
In the meeting, which has come at a time when the Gyanvapi mosque issue is being heard in courts, it was decided to build a platform for strengthening communal harmony in the country.
Former Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Lt General (retd) Zamiruddin Shah, former MP Shahid Siddiqui, and philanthropist Saeed Shervani were also present in the closed-door meeting recently held at Udasin Ashram, the temporary office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, sources told PTI.
Wide-ranging discussions were held on strengthening communal harmony and improving intra-community relations during the two-hour-long meeting, sources said.
However, no contentious issues such as the Gyanvapi mosque and controversy over Nupur Sharma's recent comments came up for discussion during the meeting, they said.
Bhagwat and the group of intellectuals agreed that without strengthening communal harmony and reconciliation among communities, the country cannot progress, sources present in the meeting told PTI.
"Both sides appreciated the need for communal harmony and to remove differences and misunderstandings among communities. A plan was chalked out to pursue this initiative," sources said.
It was suggested during the meeting to follow Gandhian philosophy and late South African President Nelson Mandela's approach for strengthening the bond between communities for the overall well-being of the country, they added.
Of late, the RSS has reached out to Muslims with Bhagwat holding several meetings with leaders from the community.
While last year, he met a group of Muslim intellectuals at a hotel in Mumbai, in September 2019, Bhagwat had met Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind head Maulana Syed Arshad Madani at the RSS office in the national capital and discussed a host of issues, including strengthening unity between Hindus and Muslims and incidents of mob lynching.
These meetings were coordinated by Ram Lal, Sangh's senior functionary and former organisational secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party.