Updated: April 13, 2020 8:00:39 am
The Telangana Police on Saturday said activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh did not have permission to man checkpoints during the lockdown this week.
A few photographs of men in RSS uniforms and holding lathis on a highway on the outskirts of Hyderabad have now gone viral on social media. A tweet from the handle @friendsofrss captioned these photos as “RSS volunteers helping the police department daily for 12 hours at Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district checkpoint, Telangana. #RSSinAction.” (sic)
Though the photos and the tweet are from April 9, these images have raised several eyebrows with many asking if policing too is now outsourced and questioning who authorised RSS to do this job.
— Friends of RSS (@friendsofrss) April 9, 2020
Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat, under whose jurisdiction the RSS volunteers were seen checking vehicles and asking for ID cards from motorists, confirmed the authenticity of the photographs and the incident. Speaking to indianexpress.com, he said: “We received some photographs from Bhongir the day before yesterday (Thursday). We have enquired and confirmed that they (RSS members) came to volunteer. Our people politely told them that we can do our duty and they can do their job.” He said the RSS volunteers have not turned up at the checkpoint on Friday and Saturday as advised. “This is the job of the police and we can do it. No permission has been given,” said the commissioner.
Ayush Nadimpalli, Telangana RSS Prant Prachaar Pramukh, said RSS volunteers had tied up for volunteering with the local police but some people have raised objection due to which the police are under pressure. “It is nothing negative. It came on social media. That’s all,” he added.
The twitter handle ‘Friends of RSS’ claims to be “an independent initiative by Swayamsevaks” and is followed by Union ministers and the Prime Minister. The handle shares photographs of RSS volunteers distributing food packets and essential groceries in different parts of the country in the wake of COVID-19.
Nadimpalli said the karyakartas of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have been implementing many Seva programmes across the country to help those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, even while extending all cooperation to the State and Central Government initiatives.
According to a statement from RSS Telangana, 2678 RSS Swayamsevaks have helped 25,000 families in 369 places across the State in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. RSS swayamsevaks have been working with various organisations including those inspired by the Sangh like Seva Bharati. As part of the initiative to help those affected by the lockdown, the RSS has been feeding poor people, distributing essential commodities through a Kirana Kit, known as “Survival Kit” at the doorstep in addition to other activities, it read.
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