Hyderabad: A day after Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat clarified that the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) workers had no permission to man check-posts during the lockdown, pictures of voluntary passes assigned to RSS workers by Kamareddy Tehsildar have surfaced online.

According to a tweet from Twitter handle @mrzubaid that uploaded photographs of two voluntary passes, the pass claims to be issued by the Telangana government’s revenue department of Kamareddy district. It has the volunteer’s name, designation, phone number, duty allotted, and place of working. RSS is written on both passes against the column “designation” and against the column “duty allotted” it says “disaster management emergency team Covid-19”. The passes also have the seal and signature of Kamareddy tahsildar.

However, when NewsMeter contacted Kamareddy SP Swetha Reddy, the official denied having issued any passes to RSS workers. “We have not issued any such pass. Also, no RSS worker has been granted permission to man any of our posts,” the SP said.

On Saturday, a few photographs of RSS workers in uniform holding lathis on a Hyderabad highway had gone viral on social media. A tweet from Twitter handle @friendsofrss dated 9 April captioned these photos as “RSS volunteers helping the police department daily for 12 hours at Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district checkpoint, Telangana. #RSSinAction.” (sic)

When the tweet went viral, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat had said the RSS did not have permission to man the check-posts. Though the officials have denied the government’s role in allowing RSS workers man the checkpoints, the voluntary passes that have surfaced on social media give rise to more speculations.

Mr Bhagwat told NewsMeter, “Manning check-posts is the duty of the police and we are doing it. We haven’t outsourced any organisation to do that job. I have no idea how they got access to these passes and how genuine they are.”

Meanwhile, when NewsMeter contacted one of the RSS workers who has received the voluntary pass from Tahesildar, the worker said the pass was issued by Mandal Revenue Officer of Kamareddy district almost a month back to the RSS workers in the mandal.

“We were given a voluntary pass by the MRO to control the crowd in front of ration shops in the mandal. This happened during the last week of March. However, the muslim communnity the area created an isse for deploying RSS workers and hence the MRO withdrew the pass,” the RSS worker said under the condition of anonymity.

When the issue was raised with district collector, the officer said, ‘The Mandal Kamareddy Revenue Officer,  planned to involve volunteers to maintain queue line at FP ( ration)  shops in Kamareddy Municipality . However he was  immediately warned him not to involve to direct to go to home distribution using a vehicle. The involvement of volunteers and cards and cancelled by MRO’ said Dr A Sharath- collector Kamareddy.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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