Dismantle anti-Romeo squad, women activists demand

Dismantle anti-Romeo squad, women activists demand

A group of women’s rights activists from across the country has demanded the dismantling of the ‘anti-Romeo squads’ in Uttar Pradesh and termed it as unconstitutional and illegal.

They said that the actions of such squads not only violated privacy of the citizens but also amounted to moral policing. In a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, around a dozen women’s rights and social activists expressed serious concern over the squad and said the police and self-styled vigilantes were using the squads to terrorise and persecute young couples.

“Surely it is not the way to protect and make the women feel safe.....these squads are attacking the women’s ability to take decisions and progressive thinking. “What is disconcerting is that these squads decide what is moral...they are picking up Romeos on the basis of doubts,” said activist Madhvi Kuckreja.

Another activist Arundhati Dhuru called the squads “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. “Such squads are illegal and against the constitution, which you (Yogi) have pledged to protect,” she said.

The activists said that safety and security of the womenfolk could not be ensured through such squads. “Women will feel safer if the police act on their complaints and crackdown on the goonda elements,” the activists said in the letter.

“Anti-Romeo squads must be immediately scrapped and action should be taken against the vigilante groups, who are harassing the couples in the state,” they demanded.

The letter was signed by social activists from different parts of the country. The ‘anti-Romeo squads’, set-up by the UP government to “catch eve-teasers”, have come under attack after reports of public tonsuring and punishment of the youth, who were caught while roaming with their girlfriends.

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