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Ghaziabad women want end to moral policing

Women said the initiative was needed for those often harassed by anti-social elements but admitted that the directive lacked proper implementation

noida Updated: Jul 10, 2017 09:03 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
The police personnel under 'anti romeo squads' are undergoing training sessions for better interaction with public. Sakib Ali/HT Photo
The police personnel under 'anti romeo squads' are undergoing training sessions for better interaction with public. Sakib Ali/HT Photo

In the first 100 days of chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s initiative of deploying anti-Romeo squads, the highest number of checks were conducted in the Meerut zone, which comprises Ghaziabad, with over 2.5 lakh persons scrutinized. The Gorakhpur zone, which is the CM’s constituency, topped the charts for action against ‘Romeos’ with 953.

The initiative, in its inception stages, drew flak as police personnel were seen harassing couples in public places and also allegedly beating men in some instances.

Women in NCR cities such as Ghaziabad said that the initiative was needed for girls and women who are often harassed by anti-social elements but admitted that the directive lacked proper implementation.

“The intent behind the move was genuine but it was poorly implemented. The police behaviour often outraged couples and those who were family members, mostly brothers and sisters, moving together in marketplaces. The teams should have been properly trained to tackle situations and also taught behavioural skills beforehand. Still, it has resulted in the anti-social elements being fearful while moving out,” said Soniya Singh, a social activist in Ghaziabad.

Gaurvi Malan, an engineering student who stays in Kaushambi, said, “I feel that girls and women in rural areas are more susceptible to harassment and they often keep silent due to social pressures. They also feel hesitant to go to police stations and lodge a complaint. The police squads should have more women personnel in rural areas, take action against the wrongdoers and should also promise to protect the woman’s identity. This is when more women and girls will come out and support the police initiative.”

For their part, senior officials in Lucknow said that police personnel are being roped in to form anti-Romeo squads and they are stressing on their training to ensure that they don’t indulge in moral policing.

“Teams are being trained in batches at Women Power Line 1090. They will be trained to handle different situations and also in behavioural and soft skills. This will ensure that the teams are properly trained before they move out for enforcement. There have been some initial hiccups which we are working to remove through training and interactive session,” said Rahul Srivastava, public relations officer, Uttar Pradesh director general of police.

As per official records, the UP police cautioned nearly 4.29 lakh persons and carried out checks at nearly 2.89 lakh public places, where 9.7 lakh persons were checked for their activities. In all, the police registered nearly 599 cases and booked 1,479 ‘Romeos’ across the state till June 30.