Hyderabad: Hours after viral photos of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteers holding lathis and scanning commuters at a check-post on the outskirts of Hyderabad sparked a row, the state police department said no official permission was given to the Sangh’s workers.
The RSS activists allegedly volunteered to help the state police at Alair check-post amid the nationwide lockdown and ended up checking commuters plying on private vehicles.
Several pictures of these volunteers had gone viral on social media where the activists were seen checking documents/ID cards of the commuters.
The photos were shared on Twitter by a handle named @friendsofrss along with a statement that read “RSS volunteers helping the police department daily for 12 hours at Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district checkpoint, Telangana”.
The Twitter handle that claims to be an independent initiative by swayamsevaks is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some Union Ministers.
It had earlier shared images of RSS activists distributing food packets to homeless people during the ongoing lockdown.
“This issue is simply being shown in a negative way. Our men volunteer at several places to help people on the ground. The same way, they asked the local police in Alair if they can volunteer at check-posts and help them, the officers agreed. This was not any official activity -- they just helped them for one day. Unnecessarily, this is being given a communal angle,” Ayush Nadimpalli, RSS state media in-charge, told News18.
Regarding the men carrying batons, Nadimpalli said that ‘lathis’ are part of the RSS uniform and hence, the activists were carrying the same during their voluntary work at the check-post.
Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said there was no official permission from the department on the matter.
“We received some photographs from Bhongir on Thursday and after inquiry, we confirmed that the RSS members had come to volunteer. I had a word with the RSS men and told them that police do not need their help at check-posts and there was no official permission. They did not turn up from the next day,” he said.
The photographs were taken at the Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district checkpoint from April 9, he added.
Meanwhile, political leaders hit out at the authorities for allowing the RSS activists to do something which only police personnel have the right to do.
Amjed Ullah Khan, spokesperson of Majlis Bachao Tehreek party, wondered how could the RSS workers guard the check-post without the permission from the commissioner. “The local police had given them permission, while the commissioner says there wasn’t anything like that. Who do we believe?” Khan said on Sunday.