Viral pictures of RSS workers checking documents at a Telangana check-post trigger row
The enforcement of the lockdown allegedly by volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the outskirts of Hyderabad triggered a controversy on Sunday.
Pictures of lathi-wielding RSS volunteers stopping people at a barricade on the highway and checking their documents and identity cards have been going viral on social media in Telangana for the last two days.
The pictures were posted by Friends of RSS from its Twitter handle. “RSS volunteers helping the police department daily for 12 hours at Yadadri Bhuvangiri district check post, Telangana,” read the statement posted along with the pictures.
On Sunday, Amzadullah Khan, president of Majlis-Bachao-Tehreek, a Hyderabad-based political outfit, questioned the propriety of the Rachakonda police (under whose jurisdiction Yadadri Bhuvanagiri falls) in engaging RSS volunteers in manning the checkposts.
In a statement, Khan sought to know whether the Telangana Rashtra Samithi government headed by chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao had nominated or officially given permission to the RSS to work the state government departments. He sought to know whether it was a policy of the TRS party to work with RSS or it was some mischief done by pro-Hindutva officials.
Tagging Telangana CMO, IT minister K T Rama Rao and Director General of Police, Khan tweeted: “Sir, why are you silent on this issue of RSS workers with sticks manning police checkposts in Telangana, people are asking whether @TelanganaCOPS also outsourced to #RSS? Please break your silence.”
RSS State Secretary Kacham Ramesh said in a statement that there was no truth in the reports that Sangh volunteers had checked the ID cards in Telangana. “It is a false allegation and motivated by narrow and vested interests,” he said.
He said Swayamsevaks do not interfere with the work of the administration and perform activities only after getting proper and full concurrence from the local administration.
On the photographs posted on the Friends of RSS Twitter handle, RSS Telangana unit media coordinator Nadimpalli Ayush said the Sangh volunteers had participated in checking of commuters only with the consent of the local police.
When contacted, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagawat admitted that some RSS volunteers had indeed come to the Alair checkpost. “We have stopped them and in the last two days, they have not been coming there. Our police personal are effectively handling the situation there. We don’t want to get associated with any religious, political group while doing law enforcement. We are empowered by the government to do that,” Bhagawat said.