The Mumbai police, it turns out, have already acted on the plan to set up special squads to check incidents of sexual harassment.
On Wednesday, at least 15 of the 21 police stations in the West Region (see box) set up these squads, and the others will form theirs in the next few days. The squads have so far charged 60 people for behaving inappropriately in public.
The squads comprise a sub-inspector, in most cases a woman, and two female and two male constables who are responsible for keeping tabs on incidents of eve teasing in their jurisdiction.
Squad members will be dressed in plainclothes and will keep a close watch on colleges, gardens, pubs and malls.
The squads have already been getting appreciative comments from the public. Police said ever since the squads were formed there have been a lot of calls from women praising the move and reporting misbehaviour and eve teasing.
“We charged 33 people on November 9 and 27 people on November 10,” said Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional commissioner of police (west region).
Offenders will be booked under Sections 110 (behaving indecently in public) and 117 (penalty) of the Bombay Police Act,” the official said.
On conviction, the offender will be punished with a fine that may extend to Rs1,200.
Those fined will be asked to be present before a magistrate where they are given strict warnings and let off. Those booked under the mentioned sections are not arrested.
The squads were formed after Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes were stabbed to death by Jitendra Rana and his three accomplices after they apparently stood up for their female friends who were being teased.
While Keenan died on the day of the incident, on October 20, Reuben died on October 31 while being treated for his injuries at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
Rana and his three accomplices were arrested on the same day and are currently in judicial custody.