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Anti-Romeo Squads: Legitimizing Moral Policing

Anti-Romeo Squads: Legitimizing Moral Policing 4

anti-romeo squads

Uttar Pradesh, a state that is consistently at the bottom of the stack when it comes to infrastructure, education or health, seems, has at last broken out of the BIMARU mould. The political heads have hit upon a noble project to use their time and energy much more advantageously: hunt down the ‘Romeos’.

So, just two days after the oath ceremony of the new Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, one of BJP’s repeated commitments during the election campaign – formation of ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to safeguard the modesty of women and check ‘eve-teasing’, a more tender term used for sexual harassment, ascended with a lot of purposefulness in the state, and as expected, marked by harassment and intimidation of guiltless youth.

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The Squads Consists of three- four police officers from each police station and there has to to be one squad at each and every police station. the police stations with a larger density of population can have more than one squad and the number of members in the squad can increase as well.

Immediate failure

Soon after the deployment of the squad, reports started coming from all over the state of youth being harassed by the police. Couples seen in public spaces were held up and questioned, and in some cases, even the parents of the victims were called to tell them the whereabouts of their kids. Girls found standing in front of the malls were told off and warned to not wade around without any reasonable purpose. The police went as narrow-minded as making a statement that boys and girls cannot be friends. And all this, in the name of protecting women.

Ideology gone wrong

While, of course, the safety of women is foremost important, such questionable squads are not a way to go about it, even if it comprises police officers. There are laws already there to keep women safe, and all that the Government needs to do is to implement it. Proper and sensible implementation of the harassment laws already available is the only way to make to make any place safer for women.

Promising a woman safety at the expense of her basic rights or the rights of any fellow human is just barbaric. Nobody gives anyone the right to stop a man talking to a woman or to stop them from going to movies or doing anything for that matter if they are not breaking any law. The ideology behind the formation of the anti-Romeo squad is not to harass two consenting individuals for going out in public together, it is to protect women from men who harass them or make them uncomfortable by passing obscene comments or doing anything of such nature. But of course, the police took it in their hands to protect the ‘Indian Culture’ and therefore,

Promising a woman safety at the expense of her basic rights or the rights of any fellow human is just barbaric. Nobody gives anyone the right to stop a man talking to a woman or to stop them from going to movies or doing anything for that matter if they are not breaking any law.

The ideology behind the formation of the anti-Romeo squad is not to harass two consenting individuals for going out in public together, it is to protect women from men who harass them or make them uncomfortable by passing obscene comments or doing anything of such nature. But of course, the police took it in their hands to protect the ‘Indian Culture’ and therefore, legitimizing moral policing.

The idea of anti-Romeo squads has already been tried by BJP in Gujrat and yielded no results, whatsoever. It makes no sense why the party decided to repeat its already failed experiment, it defies logic.

Tulika

Written by Tulika

A law student, wading through life with books, music and a dash of sarcasm.

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