After receiving criticism on their style of functioning and dealing with the couples in a harsh way, the anti-Romeo squad of Uttar Pradesh is on the back foot as they have been now given the strict instructions of do’s and Don’ts by the Police brass. It came to the eyes of everyone when videos of a cop in anti-Romeo squad asking a girl in Manipuri to hold her hands and do sit-ups. This video went viral online. The anti-Romeo squad, which was formed by the Yogi Government in Uttar Pradesh to control the cases of harassment of girls like eve-teasing, has been strictly told to hold back their alleged overloads on youths.
The senior officers have set out a clear list of rules and create the restrictions for the anti-Romeo squads so that they do not harass youths in the future. The SSP of Meerut J Ravinder Goud told TOI, “We have issued strict guidelines to the cops. They have been directed not to unnecessarily enter parks just to catch couples. Besides, there should not be any commenting or moral policing from their end. And punishing them is a big no. We have also instructed the squads to focus only on eve teasers or those with ‘evil’ intentions.” The SSP also said that the anti-Romeo squad members should stay in touch with the principals and teachers in schools and colleges in order to help them in providing a safe atmosphere for girls and women in broad-spectrum. “We have also communicated to the squads that if any cop is found using force to humiliate an innocent person either by slapping or any other means, strict action will be taken against the concerned policeman,” said SSP Goud.
On Thursday, some of the officials went through a sensational meeting in which they asked the anti-Romeo squads to not come between in the affairs of consenting couples. In Meerut district alone, more than the team of 30 including some 100 inspectors and constables has formed the anti-Romeo squad whose main task is to curb the city from the eve-teasers. The SP (city) Alok Priyadarshi said, “Because of its unique nature, the newly formed squads might have gone overboard in isolated cases, but a strong message has gone to eve teasers and we have been able to curb this menace to a large extent. However, if we talk about the sensitivity of the issue, we have spoken to the teams to have a balanced approach so that the innocent are not harassed. And one point that has been emphatically brought home is that there should be no police meddling in the affairs of consenting couples.”
The Police of Uttar Pradesh has come under heavy condemnation as discharging their duties to anti-Romeo squads. For example, in Rampur, the local police detained a couple on Sunday from a medicine shop for five hours. The Police eventually got to know that they were cousins. These kinds of incidents are not just only representing heavy criticism for the Police on the social media, but it has also become an affair of embarrassment for the Yogi Adityanath’s Government. It has become so embarrassing moment for the Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath that he also needs to say on Friday that “boys and girls are not to be harassed unnecessarily.” The anti-Romeo squads were a poll promise of the BJP that secured a landslide victory in the state election, but the squad is receiving criticism from everywhere.
Allahabad High Court asked the anti-Romeo squads to follow the guidelines and the Uttar Pradesh government also directed the Police today that no brutal measure would be adopted in the name of ensuring the safety of women. A senior officer said in Lucknow that there should be no shaving of heads and all. “There should be no shaving of heads, blackening of faces or “Murga pose” (sit-ups while holding ears),” said a senior official. These special squads of Uttar Pradesh Police were formed by the Yogi Government (Poll promise of BJP) to ensure the safety of the women in the state. But the Allahabad court on Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh government that the guidelines followed by the anti-Romeo squads to ensure the safety of women must be taken as per the laws.
According to an official, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also directed the administrative and police officials in districts to regularly evaluate the steps been taken for the safety of women and inform senior officials every day. The Chief Minister Yogi has asked the officials to make the clear guidelines for the anti-Romeo squads and ensure that there’s no unnecessary harassment of boys and girls moving around or sitting at a place. We hope that the anti-Romeo squads will focus on ensuring the safety of the women and catching the ‘eye-teasers’ only in the future, and they will not harass any couple in the state.