Meerut: Calling the eve-teasers as “Romeos” the party chief Amit Shah has promised to set up “Anti-Romeo squads” to prevent “harassment of young women students,” few sections of the party insisted that the action will be selective, targeting only those who harass “Hindu girls”.
BJP’s national co-convenor Sunil Bharala, said the squads will take action in cases of “love jihad” which was coined with a Hindu-Muslim marriage in Karnataka. A number of inter-faith matches came under scrutiny and attack.
“Love jihad targets innocent girls and lure them. The Muzaffarnagar riots took place because of this love jihad,” said Mr. Bharala.
Over past few years, vigilante groups have been active in Meerut and students say they don’t find the promise of anti-Romeo squads reassuring.
Shubhi Srivastava, a final year student.”Young people should be given space and some freedom. While everyone has to maintain decency in public space there should be no place for violence.”
Nirmal, a final-year engineering student said.”Any squad should be under the supervision of the judiciary and not any political party.”
In October 2014, activists of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, a youth wing of BJP, allegedly vandalized a restaurant in Kozhikode, Kerala, and claimed the restaurant was indulging in “immoral activities”.
In 2015, a group of women in Uttar Pradesh had decided to take photographs of couples in public places on Valentine’s Day and shame them on social networking sites. The Mahila Shakti Samajik Samita (MSSS), a group based in Noida, said such shaming would stop “obscene acts” by youngsters and discipline them.
A BJP spokesperson said that the squads would operate within the law and be set up at police stations. “Over the past 10 years, there has been regular harassment of students by anti-social elements and as a result, the peace is disturbed,” he said.