The Rachakonda Commissionerate in Hyderabad has denied permission to police personnel who wanted to report to duty without prescribed uniform, shoes and other articles because they would be observing deeksha of Swamy Ayyappa in November-December-January.
In a circular, Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat has referred to the police chief’s earlier circular of 2011 and 2018, in which it was made clear that there is “no specific provision in rules to allow police personnel to grow hair or beard irrespective of their religion.” It said those who want to observe deeksha (that extends to 41 days) can apply for leave.
The circular was issued after five policemen asked the Commissioner for permission to work during the deeksha period. Religious norms dictate that a man should not wear footwear, not shave and sport black robe during the deeksha period. Bhagwat’s note makes it clear it will not be permitted.
The note has invited criticism from the BJP that has accused the Commissionerate of dual standards.
“The police force allows Muslim policemen to work while fasting during the Ramzan month period so why not allow concessions to Hindu policemen during the Sabarimala deeksha period,” asked Raja Singh, BJP MLA. His reference was also to Muslim government employees being allowed to leave office an hour early in order to facilitate breaking the fast.