17 January 2018 08:32 AM



Iftar with Cows Milk: What is the Rashtriya Muslim Manch?


NEW DELHI: It was an iftar with a difference. And part of the solemn decision taken by the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, an organisation run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to ensure that Muslims break their Ramzan fast with “sacred cows milk.” And hence Jamia Millia Islamia was selected as the prominent venue, with the Manch holding an iftar party with its patron RSS leader Indresh Kumar as the Chief Guest last week.

Jamia Vice Chancellor issued the invite. Although not without protest, with the students in particular opposed to the decision. The campus was flooded with security personnel with the students protesting away from the venue of course, while Kumar arrived to regale the collected audience with,““From Prophet Adam to the last Prophet, and even (the Prophet Muhammad’s wife) Aisha, never ate ‘gosht.’ Meat is a disease. Milk is the cure and treatment... According to their advice, those who sacrifice animals, slaughter it and eat it, in a way are eating poison, are eating diseases. They had said this should not be done. With this they also said that, at Iftar the drinks that are served, use milk in it.”

Kumar broke the ‘fast’ with cows milk. And of course had to bring in the pet theme of the government and the RSS , triple talaq with, “when talaq is a sin, and is disliked by god, is a ‘paap’, then shouldn’t triple talaq be a ‘mahapaap?’” At the same time he spoke of tolerane and secularism, reciting from the Quran to make the point as well. The protestors raised slogans from the spot where they had been stopped by the cops, “ “Iftar inka bahaana hain. Sanghwaad phailana hain.” (iftar is an excuse to spread RSS ideology).

The Muslim Rashtriya Manch was floated by the RSS in 2002 under the aegis of then RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan, but remained a fairly obscure organisation, used at times to make statements or give credibility to controversial decisions to do with minorities, but not in limelight. It was functional, of course, collecting signatures to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir amongst other issues.

It has come into prominence during the past one year, with the scale of activities being stepped up dramatically in the past few months under one Mohammad Afzal who runs a workshop, and has been connected with the BJP for a few years now. He is a resident of Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate and follows the directives, as fellow Muslims who know him say, to the letter.Afzal was associated with late BJP leader Sikander Bakht and as an old timer recalled, “used to shout slogans for him now and again.”

But Afzal is just the docile front. The all powerful patron of the Manch is RSS leader Indresh Kumar who has been associated with the organisation since its inception. All activities are overseen by Kumar who is an active presence at all the functions organised by the organisation these days, with the Muslim Manch clearly part of his area of responsibility.

The focus of the Manch is currently on the cow and on triple talaq. It has been organising any number of meetings with the ‘iftar’ at Jamia being seen as an achievement because “ sacred cows milk (was) served to the Rozedars” (those observing the fast).

The Manch has announced a"Gau Seva Sadbhavana Padayatra", from Leh to Kanyakumari, to be undertaken by one National Convener of Gau Seva Prakoshth Mohd Faiz Khan from June 24. The campaign was inaugurated by Indresh Kumar, and the yatra will create awareness “about cow protection, cow rearing, medicinal qualities of milk, ghee etc among the Muslims.”

A sample of the activities of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch in its own words:

- ‘In May “Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) activists approached the Supreme Court seeking intervention in response to the petition filed by Tahseen Poonawalla demanding complete ban on ‘gau rakshaks’ (cow vigilante) across the country.The petitioners include former vice-chancellor of RTM Nagpur University Dr S N Pathan from Pune and Mohd. Faiz Khan, National Convener of MRM Cow Cell from Raipur besides Israr Ullah from Allahabad. They requested the apex court not to ban the ‘gau rakshaks’.Senior MRM activist and Supreme Court advocate Shiraz Qureshi and his team that filed the intervention requested the supreme court that there are good number of people working within the legal framework to protect the cow and its progeny cutting across the religious affiliations.’

- A meeting in Jaipur where Indresh Kumar addressed the audience and described “those indulging in organising beef parties and creating tension in the country as 'satans,.’” He further said that “ those who killed the cow in Kerala were murderers of humanity.”

- A meeting at Kaliyar Sharif where “ Senior RSS functionary and Patron of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) Indresh Kumar appealed to the Muslim community to come forward to end the inhuman system of triple talaq, protect the cow and build a grand temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram at Ayodhya.The history would record the contribution of Muslims in building a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya, he said urging them to delink the Muslim society from invaders like Mohd –Bin-Qasim and Babur. Indresh Kumar was addressing the inaugural session of the two-day national congregation of MRM held at the pious place of Kaliyar Sharif near Roorkee in Uttarakhand on May 5 and 6. The congregation was attended by 550-600 delegates from Assam-Manipur to Gujarat and from Hyderabad to Srinagar.”

- A meeting at Jammu as reported by the Manch as part of its avowed “ campaign” to abolish Article 70. “The people of Jammu awoke to a new dawn on May 7th. The sweet sounds of "Vande Mataram" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai" that reverberated through the entire town of Jammu came as a pleasant surprise for them. The slogans also sounded a warning to those elements in the Kashmir Valley who nursed the dream of "Azad Kashmir". The people of Jammu were all smiles for they have not seen even in their dreams in the last 67 years that Muslims would sing "Vande Mataram" and chant "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and demand in once voice abrogation of Article 370! It was next to impossible for them!!”