The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an outfit formed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in 2002, had arranged invites for over three dozen guests from the minority community, but mismanagement ensured that only some of them were able to attend. Many were seen arguing with MRM functionaries for passes. Some prominent Muslims who were able to attend the swearing-in, thanks to the RSS, were:
Zaheer Ahmed Habibi: A transporter from Moradabad who has been associated with the MRM from the very beginning. He came with his son Shah Alam, a student of law. Habibi, who has studied up to Class 10, said his company has nearly 5,000 vehicles. He said he had never visited an RSS shakha, that did attend special programs. “I never wear RSS knickers,” he said.
Maulana Shoeb Kasmi: Educated at Darul-Uloom, Deoband, Kasmi has been associated with the MRM from the beginning. He belongs to Bijnore in UP, and has an office at Daryaganj in Delhi. Hundreds of maulanas are linked to him and his organisations.
Imran Chaudhary: He is the national co-convener of the MRM, and is based in Delhi. A doctorate in Persian from Jamia Millia Islamia, 40-year-old Chaudhary has been associated with the MRM since its foundation.
Maulana Kokaz: A Shia maulana from Amroha in UP; has been associated with the MRM for the last 4 years. He is among the key leaders of the MRM in western UP.
Mohammed Afzal: A manufacturer of pharmaceutical machinery based in Delhi, Afzal is among the founders of the MRM, and its national convener. He has been a regular visitor to RSS shakhas for the last 12 years. 53-year-old Afzal says his “only goal is to assemble every rashtravadi (nationalist) Muslim with the RSS”.
Salawat Khan: A Qaimkhani Muslim from Sikar in Rajasthan, Khan has been associated with the MRM for over 10 years. He runs a property business, and is an Arabic scholar as well. For a few years, he was chairman of the Rajasthan Wakf Board.
Reshma Hussain: She is from Jaipur, and heads the women’s wing of the MRM. Two years ago, she started the Rakshabandhan function in MRM, where Hindu women tied rakhis to Muslims and Muslim women tied rakhis to Hindus. She also runs an NGO in Jaipur.
Fayaz Ahmed Khan: He was earlier associated with the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Foundation, and is now with the MRM. He is from Srinagar, and has a steel business. He was in touch with the RSS even before the MRM was formed.
G M Mir: He is a retired civil servant from Jammu and Kashmirt. He has been based in Kupwara for the past five years, working for the MRM. But he has never been associated with the RSS.
Mushtaq Noorabandi: A hotelier from Srinagar, Noorabandi has had links with the RSS’s Indresh Kumar since the early 1990s, when Indresh was a prant pracharak in Jammu and Kashmir. He is a member of the national council of MRM.
Abu Baqar Naqvi: The Physical education teacher from Tonk, Rajasthan, has been associated with MRM for the last eight years. He has never been to an RSS shakha, and says, “I work for MRM as it is a social organisation.” 52-year-old Naqvi is also active in teachers’ politics.
Shezad Ali: The shoe factory owner from Agra is a key man in spreading the MRM’s work in UP and Uttarakhand. He is also directly associated with the RSS. He joined MRM early in its life.
Islam Sultani: A farmer from Bareilly in UP, and convener of the MRM in the Rohilkhand region. 32-year-old Sultani joined MRM in 2012, and is now associated with RSS shakhas as well. After Modi took oath, Sultani declared, “Achchhe dinon ki shuruat ho gayi hai.”
Mohammed Riyaz: Riyaz too is based in Bareilly, and has been working with the MRM for the last two years. He makes his living in the zardozi artisanal business, and is co-convener of the MRM for Rohilkhand.
Sayyad Babar Ashraf: He is president of the All India Ulema Mashaikh Board, and hails from Ambedkar Nagar near Faizabad. He is not associated with the MRM, but was invited nonetheless. He says, “We are all out to counter the Wahabi ideology, which is dividing the country.”
Maulana Wahid Chishtee: The Lucknow-based sajjadanasheen of a Chishti dargah, the maulana has been instrumental in spreading the MRM’s work in the UP capital and, for this reason, has had differences with several other Muslim leaders in the region. He is a member of the UP council of the MRM.