However, later on Saturday, the police clarified that the RSS did not have permission to man the checkposts.

Images of lathi-wielding RSS workers checking vehicles in Telangana ignites row
news Controversy Sunday, April 12, 2020 - 10:30

Photographs of lathi-wielding activists belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) manning a check post in Telangana sparked outrage on social media on Saturday. The photos show the RSS workers standing along with the police, stopping vehicles on the highway and checking documents of commuters.

The incident is said to have taken place on Thursday at the Gudur checkpost.

"RSS volunteers helping the police department daily for 12 hours at Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district checkpost in Telangana (sic)," a tweet on April 9, which first triggered the row, stated.

The images triggered a row as many on social media tagged the police and asked if they were given permission to check the documents of citizens.

"Has law enforcement in Telangana been handed over to the RSS?" one user asked.

“If police dept needs assistance they should give an advertisement for volunteers. Many people who are interested from different organisations may join. It is completely undemocratic to have volunteers only from one organisation,” another user said.

However, later on Saturday, the police clarified that the RSS did not have permission to man the checkposts.

"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. This is the job of the police and we can do it. No permission has been given," Rachakonda Police Commissioner M Mahesh Bhagwat said in a statement. 

The police also said that the RSS workers had only shown up on Thursday, and did not return since Friday, after the police's request.

The Telangana government on Saturday decided to extend the lockdown in the state till April 30. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao told reporters that the state cabinet had decided to extend the lockdown as it felt that it is the only way to check the spread of COVID-19.

He said that after April 30, the government may consider lifting the lockdown in phases.

Read: ‘Ensure farmers don’t incur losses, keep food processing industry open’: KCR to PM Modi

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