Lucknow, Jun 10: The RSS-backed Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) will hold 'Eid Milan' programmes and Iftar parties in a bid to remove what it believes are misconceptions among a section of the people about the Sangh and the BJP, but its attempts to reach out to Muslims have been derided by the opposition as a mere political gimmick ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The MRM said it would invite Muslim clerics and RSS leaders to an 'Eid Milan' programme to be held in Delhi on June 19. "Guests from other countries and ambassadors will also be invited to the programme during which the MRM will try to remove misconceptions related to the RSS and the BJP," the front's national convenor Muhammad Afzal told PTI.
Afzal said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had also been invited to the event but might not be able to attend it because of prior engagements. The opposition Samajwadi Party said the move was an effort to "befool" Muslims while the Congress dubbed it a "political gimmick" ahead of the 2019 elections.
"The BJP and the RSS are trying to befool Muslims for whom they have done nothing. It's just an attempt to distract people as they have done nothing for them in their over four-year-rule at the Centre and also during the one year it has been in power in the state," SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said. He said such "political gimmicks" would not succeed, an opinion echoed by the Congress.
"This is a political gimmick ahead of the 2019 elections. This is not going to work. Muslims know what the BJP and the RSS are... They will not fall in their trap," Congress leader Dwijendra Tripathi said.
Afzal, however, stressed that the MRM was reaching out to Muslims to inform them about the work being done by the RSS and trying to change their views about the organisation. The MRM has been hosting Iftar parties at several places. RSS leader Kumar Indresh was present in some of the functions.
"Iftar parties were organised in Mumbai and Dehradun. More such events will be held in Meerut and Pune this week," Afzal said. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan and is likely to be celebrated on Friday or Saturday.
The MRM claims that it sponsors the education of Muslim children and gives Rs 1,000 every month to 1,000 divorced women. "We have been bearing the cost of education of over 2,000 Muslim children. A pension of Rs 1,000 per month has been started for women who were given 'talaq'," he said.
The organisation also claims it has set up "food grain banks" for the poor in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The MRM was formed in 2002 by then RSS chief KS Sudarshan to enable the Sangh to reach out to Muslims. The MRM has established an educational trust for meritorious students named after freedom fighter Ashfaqullah Khan, he said.
The RSS's Muslim wing had last year organised Iftar parties and served cow milk and milk products to those present. It sought to send a message on cow protection and on the harmful effects of eating its meat. Special prayers were offered in which appeals were made to protect the cow.