The Bihar police instructed district police officers in May to gather details on functionaries and office bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and associate Sangh outfits, The Hindu reported on Wednesday. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is an ally of the Janata Dal (United) in the state.

The superintendent of police of the Special Branch of the Bihar Police issued a letter on May 28 to all deputy superintendents of police to gather details on functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its 18 associate organisations. The letter was issued two days before the BJP government began its second term.

“Gather all details including names, addresses, telephone numbers and business associations of all office-bearers (presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries, treasurers, joint secretaries or others, if any) of the RSS and its following associate organisations within a week,” the letter said. “This must be taken as very important,” the superintendent of police wrote. Another police official had appended his comments on the letter on June 3: “Please comply immediately”.

Kartikey Sharma, the current superintendent of police of Special Branch, said he was not aware of the letter, The Times of India reported. “I assumed charge as SP (G) recently,” Sharma said. “I was not in the post when the letter, as you have mentioned, was issued.” Sharma did not confirm if his office had received the information from the officers concerned.

Janata Dal (United) National Secretary-General KC Tyagi called it routine. “This is a routine matter, which the police or the intelligence wing of every state or the central government does from time to time,” Tyagi told The Times of India. “It should not be construed as an attempt either to target or malign the image of any organisation.”

The associated Sangh outfits named in the letter are Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Jagaran Samiti, Dharm Jagaran Samanvay Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Shiksha Bharti, Muslim Rashtriya Manch, Durga Vahini, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Rail Sangh, ABVP, Akhil Bharatiya Shikshak Mahasangh, Hindu Mahasabha, Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Hindu Putra Sangh, The Hindu reported.