Ghaziabad police reactivate anti-romeo squads, special drive from July 1
Officials said wherever possible, a woman sub-inspector will head the team and a minimum of 50% members of the team will be women.Updated: Jun 25, 2019 10:17 IST
Following the directions of the Uttar Pradesh government, the Ghaziabad police has decided to reactivate ‘anti-romeo squads’ and a one-month long special drive will be initiated from July 1.
The officials this time have decided to give special jackets to squad members and have also come up with pink letters boxes which will be put up at schools and colleges for women and minors to anonymously drop in their complaints to police without revealing their identities.
Anti-romeo squads were started by the Yogi Adityanathled UP government, within days of him coming to power in May 2017, to crack down on instances of harassment and molestation of women and girls. The teams had drawn much flak after allegations of them “harassing” consenting couple surfaced.
“The teams have been specifically told that to not harass couples and will not punish any suspect. If the team comes across any suspect, he will be brought to the nearest police station to face action. The teams will also be given specific close user group mobile phone numbers which will be shared with the public,” Neeraj Kumar Jadaun, superintendent of police (rural), said.
The Ghaziabad district has 17 police stations, including a women’s police station. Officials said wherever possible, a woman sub-inspector will head the team and a minimum of 50% members of the team will be women.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, earlier this month, had directed officials to revive the squads, strengthen policing and prepare a list of suspects in crimes against women. Taking the directions forward, the Ghaziabad police has decided for relaunch the squads which will be attached to the respective police stations and operate in a team of three to five personnel and will be headed by a sub-inspector.
“The official launch will be on July 1 while the month will be used for spreading awareness among women and girls. The squad members will be wearing a distinctive pink jacket which will make them easy to spot. They will operate in areas such as prominent markets, schools, colleges and outside coaching centres,” Upendra Kumar Agrawal, deputy inspector general (Ghaziabad), said.
“Further, we have also started putting up letter boxes at schools and colleges for women and girls to drop their complaints. If they wish, they can keep their identities secret. The key to the letter box will be available with the local station house officer. He will open the letter box every second day and scan all complaints. Legal action against harassers will be taken on complaints or suo motu by police,” Jadaun said.
Nearly 500 schools and colleges in the rural areas and another 75-100 schools in city areas will get the pink letter boxes.
The police have identified the areas based on vulnerability — where victims face harassment but often do not come forward to report cases.
According to official records, about 1,284 cases of crimes against women were registered in 2016 in Ghaziabad district. This rose to 1,409 in 2017 and then came down to 1,344 cases in 2018. These also included cases of molestation, rape, murder and domestic violence.