100 days on, Noida residents give mixed response to Operation Romeo
According to the police, from March-end to June 30, the police conducted flying checks at 5,257 locations including schools, colleges and other public places where footfall is high. The squads issued warnings to 6,329 men for harassing women. In total, the police registered four cases and action taken in all four instances.noida Updated: Jul 08, 2017 22:33 IST
The anti-Romeo squads of police teams in Gautam Budh Nagar have questioned 37,802 men in the district till June 30. The squads were constituted on the instructions of chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The squad was formed to stop harassment of women in public places.
According to the police, from March-end to June 30, the police conducted flying checks at 5,257 locations including schools, colleges and other public places where footfall is high. The squads issued warnings to 6,329 men for harassing women. In total, the police registered four cases and action taken in all four instances.
The police booked 33 persons under Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code while 19 people faced action under Section 151(knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse) of the IPC.
Action against ‘Romeos’ was a major pre-election promise of Yogi, to make the state a comfortable place for women. Yogi had asked the police to constitute anti-Romeo squads few days after taking the oath on March 18 as the chief minister.
Following its launch, the police had faced criticism for indulging in moral policing and unfair treatment of men. The initiative courted controversy as many visuals of police troubling couples went viral on social media, and had also raised a debate on whether such action by the police amounted to interference in the personal space of people.
“Law and order is a big concern in Uttar Pradesh and women are not safe. The formation of anti-Romeo squads has both pros and cons. The problem is that at times, the police can trouble an innocent man because there are no fixed guidelines to identify an offender. The good thing is that notorious elements know that they can be caught for their indecent acts,” said Rahul Sharma, a resident of Sector 18, Noida.
The superintendent of police (rural), Gautam Budh Nagar, Suniti, said that she agrees with the opinion that one or two initial incidents created a wrong impression about the initiative but these police teams have been given clear instruction to not disturb couples.
“In our district, we make sure that no innocent man is troubled. Couples who are together willingly will not be disturbed anywhere by the police. We are careful while identifying a notorious person,” said Suniti.
Mahindra Gautam, a resident of Noida’s Sector 62, said, “No anti-Romeo squad will help until the mindset of the people changes. The government needs to focus on more permanent solutions such as providing education to everybody and also by making people aware of the repercussions of such acts.”
Police personnel who are a part of anti-Romeo squads patrol public areas in civil clothes to check incidents of harassment to women. Men and women personnel are deputed in these squads.