The Gautam Budh Nagar senior superintendent of police (SSP) issued directions for the formation of two dozen ‘anti-Romeo’ squads in the district to ensure that women are not harassed in public places. The move follows orders from the state’s top police official after Yogi Adityanath took oath as the chief minister of the state.
Officials said that the teams will patrol the city in plainclothes and keep a vigil of busy market areas, shopping malls, girls’ schools and women’s colleges. Each team will comprise a sub-inspector and, men and women constables. The ‘anti-Romeo’ drives were also started in the district with the deployment of plainclothes police personnel near women’s colleges and in markets.
Several cases of harassment have been reported in the district in the past, in which the public has been a mute spectator. “The police often ignore complaints of teasing or do not respond on time. Women are prone to harassment in some crowded markets and malls. Men pass lewd remarks and even molest women in some cases. Hopefully, with these special squads, the situation will change,” Shradha Tiwari, a working professional, said.
The police said that even before the formation of these squads, there was a strict crackdown on such incidents in the district. They said they issued a strict warning to such persons and asked them to mend their ways.
The police said that now, however, they will file a case under sections 294 (Obscene acts and songs) 268 (creating public nuisance) of IPC.
“Earlier, we used to warn those teasing girls and women and informed their parents. But from now, punishment will be strict. We will file a case against the offenders,” a police official said.
A senior police official said that incidents of teasing are often unreported due to social stigma but these squads will ensure swift action and also help in counselling the victims.
He said, “We want women to approach the police without fear and move freely in the city.”
The police said they will also increase vigil in the scarcely populated localities in Greater Noida, where women residents are concerned about their safety.
Dismissing claims of moral policing, Dharmendra Singh, the Gautam Budh Nagar SSP, said, “I will ensure that the police act fairly.”