Rashtriya Muslim Manch, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, has put to rest the controversy over reported discontent among its Maharashtra unit over refusal by the RSS to host an Iftar party on its premises in Nagpur. “Iftar is always hosted by the one who throws the party. Islam doesn’t ask someone else to host the party for Muslims. The request by the Maharashtra unit leader at Nagpur to the RSS is fundamentally flawed on this count and he has been told about it,” Manch national president Mohammad Afzal told The Indian Express.
The controversy arose last week when Maharashtra Manch convener Mohammad Faruq Sheikh requested RSS Nagpur Mahanagar Sanghchalak Rajesh Loya to host an Iftar party on the Smruti Mandir premises of the organisation. However, his request was declined by the RSS, saying, “no parties can be hosted there.”
Sheikh said, “I thought RSS hosting Iftar would send a message of brotherhood at a time the world is talking about growing intolerance in India. What’s wrong in that?” He added: “Last year, we had hosted an Iftar party in front of Mominpura’s Jama Masjit, in which some RSS, BJP leaders had come.”
A senior RSS functionary said, “no such event can be hosted at Smruti Mandir. Currently, the third year training camp is also going on at Smruti Mandir.”
Sheikh had also offered to make the party completely vegetarian, but ultimately to no avail.
Describing the request as “fundamentally flawed”, Afzal said, “if a Muslim wants to organise Iftar party, he cannot ask someone else to host it for him. He has to host it himself. That’s why the expectation from the RSS to host it is fundamentally flawed and Sheikh, who enthusiastically pleaded for it, has been told that his expectation was improper.”
“Our Maharashtra party was organised in Mumbai and has been held as per the tradition. So no other party is required to be hosted,” Afzal said. “Manch is an independent organisation which works in close coordination with the RSS. There can be no imposition of will on anyone either way,” he added.
On Tuesday, some reports said that the RSS would go an extra mile to placate the Manch by hosting an ‘Id Milan’ programme on its premises. The RSS functionary refuted the reports. Sheikh, however, said, “I was told that the RSS would host the Id Milan programme, which is good.”