Recently UP CM announced to create “Anti Romeo Squads” to ensure the safety of college-going girls and check eve-teasing.  Each team consists of two policemen one male and one female. Number of teams deployed depends on the number of schools and colleges in that particular area. Team will move around near schools and colleges where there are larger number of women.

So the task of the team is to identify eve teasers and troublemakers in a crowd and can let off miscreants with a warning, can inform parents and even initiate criminal action depending on the seriousness of the case.

Indeed, it is high time law and order takes necessary steps against lack of safety for women in public places and this should be a welcome move.

However, there are several reasons for consternation about this sudden move. Just two days have passed and there are several reports of unjustified actions taken by the squads have come acrossed, including forcing young men found with young women to do hold ears and do sit-ups in public. Not only this, thousands of young men in cities like Lucknow, Meerut and Jhansi, have been questioned, shamed and their activities have been reported to their parents without any report or indication of misbehavior with women. Of course some of them are arrested too.

Hence UP police so far has clearly stated that the aim of “Anti Romeo Squads” is to act against those who involve in eve-teasing and that there will be no moral policing. DGP Javeed Ahmed has ensured that strict action will be taken against police officers who indulged in moral policing if complaints are made against them.

So the question here is “Why the deployed police officers were charged up to take action without proper briefing and sensitisation towards what is defined as eve-teasing and harassment?

Is being found roaming around or standing outside women’s educational institutes or other public places enough to be proved as a “romeo” by the police? A boy was waiting outside DN college in Meerut asked to call his parents without even knowing if he was there to meet a boy or girl. What the hell, only standing around girls college doesn’t prove the boy as eve teaser.

Real achievement of the government or the police is not to be terrorising young men and couples from public places. Infact real achievement lies in focussing on skillfully nabbing actual offenders who perceive women as soft targets and feel empowered to stalk, misbehave and harass.

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