K.C. Sudarshan, former chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, met Shia cleric Maulana Hameedul Hasan at his residence here on Sunday.
Addressing a joint press conference later, they stressed the need for different communities to come together on one platform. However, no agenda for a course of action was chalked out at the meeting, which was seen as an initiative.
It was arranged by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, which, its office-bearers said, was formed in 2002.
Mr. Sudarshan and Maulana Hasan said the time had come to remove misgivings among various communities, as certain issues had been blown out of proportion.
On the issue of singing Vande Mataram, what was the problem when the recitation amounted to paying respect to the motherland, Mr. Sudarshan wondered. But Maulana Hasan differed. Muslims would have no problem only if singing Vande Mataram meant ahtaram (salutation).
The Maulana was also critical of the tag on Muslims as being soft on Pakistan. It was a canard being spread by vested interests to harm the community, he said, adding no Muslim in the country identified himself with Pakistan. Mr. Sudarshan refused to comment on the developments in the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Maulana Hasan later told The Hindu that the meeting saw a fruitful exchange of views on wide-ranging issues. Steps to end differences among different communities were also discussed.