Anti-Romeo squads: Ensure no unnecessary harassment, says UP CM

Lucknow: With visuals on TV suggesting harassment and humiliation of young couples by anti-Romeo squads in some places, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday asked officials to ensure there was no “unnecessary harassment”.

The Chief Minister asked the Principal Secretary (Home) to chalk out clear guidelines for anti-Romeo squads and ensure there is no unnecessary harassment of boys and girls moving around or sitting at any place, an official release said.

Anti-Romeo squads, a poll promise of the BJP that won a remarkable victory in the Uttar Pradesh election, drew criticism from certain quarters as visuals of policemen targeting young boys and girls are going viral on TV and in social media.

“The idea is to question, check group of boys or boys alone near colleges and other places, and create fear among potential harassers in public places,” said a police officer.

According to police sources, the modus operandi of the squads will be the same as that of the infamous ‘Operation Majnu’ in 2005, in which boys at crossings and markets were pulled up, and couples in gardens were thrashed by police.

It was seen as an attempt at moral policing and widely criticised.

In Meerut, SP (city) Alok Priyadarshi denied charges of harassment.

“The only job (of the squads) is to ensure safety of women and to ensure that eve-teasing does not takes place. For this we will also take preventive steps like not permitting miscreants to loiter in public areas where women are known to frequent. I will not say it is moral policing,” he said.

The chief minister, who met an acid attack victim in hospital here this morning, asked for effective steps in cases of acid attacks.

Adityanath who has termed law and order as the top priority of his government also asked for daily report from all DMs and SPs in connection with all these points, the release said. The chief minister holds the portfolio of Home department.