The Noida police has said that it will not question or trouble couples in the name of ‘Anti-Romeo squads’.
Police teams will not grill youngsters or couples sitting in public places, but will act only on the basis of a complaint, officials said on Friday.
Superintendent of Police (Noida) Dinesh Yadav said, ‘Anti-Romeo squads’ had been formed in the district following a State government order. The squads have been directed not to trouble couples unnecessarily, Mr. Yadav added.
“We have briefed the squads to not stop couples from roaming around in the city. They will not disturb couples and people sitting in parks, malls, metro stations and other public places,” the SP said.
‘Safety of women’
The Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Javeed Ahmad, in fact, had to take to Twitter to clear the air about these squads. Rejecting allegations of the squads behaving like the moral police, he said, “Safety of girls/ladies is the sole intent of the anti Romeo squads. No moral policing.”
When asked how the squads would identify miscreants, Mr. Yadav said, “They have been told to keep an eye on unwarranted acts. Action will be taken only if the squad identifies unwarranted gestures by a person or couple. We have been taking action in such cases in the past too,” he said.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections, the BJP had raised the issue of eve-teasing and promised to form ‘Anti-Romeo squads’ if it came to power. After taking over as the Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath ordered the UP police to form these squads and act against violators.
What followed was incidents of youngsters and couples being troubled in the name of the ‘Anti-Romeo’ drive.
It also invited criticism from the parents of boys who were reprimanded by the police as part of the drive against harassment of women.
“It is lawlessness. I am afraid of sending my son to Uttar Pradesh thanks to the Anti-Romeo drive. How will we justify that my son is not a ‘romeo’, but a married and responsible person? The police should not disturb people in the name of a drive,” said Delhi-based Charanjeet Kaur, whose son works in Noida.