Social media posts claiming Muslims gathered at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on December 16 demanding the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh fail to mention that the event was organised by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an organisation with links to the Rashtra Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Several Facebook and Twitter users posted similar messages that made the rally seem like a voluntary and organic expression by the Muslim community. The posts included an article by Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, . Jagran’s headline loosely translated to ‘Muslims come together at Jantar Mantar, Demand Construction of Ram Temple’.
While Muslims did gather on December 16, 2018 demanding a temple be built at the disputed site; the event was organised by Muslim Rashtriya Manch.
Jagran’s story mentioned the name of the organisation but did not include MRM’s ties to the Sangh.
A search on Twitter with keywords ‘Muslim Rashtriya Manch’ (in Hindi) showed several tweets with the same message and link.
Not just Jagran, Navbharat Times also did not include anything about the link between the two organisations.
“The new movement was initially called “Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah” which was re-christened as “Muslim Rashtriya Manch” in 2005,” the About Us section of Muslim Rashtriya Manch’s website states.
BOOM also spoke to MRM’s National Convener Md. Afzal, who reiterated what the posts claimed.
“Around 1,000 Muslims from 25 states came for the protest. The time has come that peace should dawn upon our country. Indian Muslims believe this and thus they want that Ram temple be constructed at the site. Indian Muslims identify more with Ram lalla than Babar.”
When asked whether MRM was the Muslim wing of the Rashtra Swyamsewak Sangh, Afzal said, “You can say so if you want to. We have no objections to it.”
We also contacted author and Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha to know more about MRM’s affiliation to the RSS. Sinha told us that while MRM was not an official wing of RSS, it draws heavily from the social philosophy of the Sangh. “Several Pracharaks have also been guiding light for the MRM,” Sinha said.
Indresh Kumar, who has been named as MRM’s patron, was not immediately reachable for a comment. Incidentally, Kumar’s name can be seen listed as an RSS member on the RSS’s official website.
In one of the tweets, Indresh Kumar can be seen addressing a gathering reportedly at Jantar Mantar on December 16.
दिल्ली के जंतर मंतर से इंद्रेश कुमार लाइव: https://t.co/NknLPrMOOM
— JK 24×7 News (@JK247News) December 16, 2018
Other similar tweets.
16 दिसंबर, सुबह 11:00 बजे को नई दिल्ली के जंतर- मंतर में आदरणीय इन्द्रेश कुमार जी के मार्गदर्शन में हज़ारों की संख्या में मुस्लिम राम मंदिर निर्माण का संकल्प लेंगे । यह देश मे पहली बार होगा कि देश का मुस्लमान किसी समस्या के समाधान के लिए लीड करेगा और घोष लगाएगा, pic.twitter.com/3t57yBZFIS
— Yaser Jilani (@yaserjilani) December 15, 2018
Only the Tribune, in its report dated December 16 described the Muslim Rashtriya Manch as a RSS-backed organisation. Read the full report here.
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