The second term of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has seen an increase in the activity of Anti-Romeo squads that were formed in 2017 to curb eve-teasing.
According to the data released by the state government ahead of of the Republic Day, the Anti-Romeo squads got 4,231 cases lodged and 5,585 people booked in the first 270 days (between April 2, 2022, and December 28, 2022) of the Yogi Adityanath’s second term, thereby averaging 15 cases a day.This was roughly three times more as compared to the first 268 days of the Yogi Adityanath government’s first term. Then, the Anti-Romeo squads got 1,706 cases lodged and 3,003 people booked between March 22, 2017, and December 15, 2017, averaging nearly six cases per day, as per the data collated by the government and distributed to the district administration for making it public on Republic Day.
A comparison of 2022 data with the one of 2017 also showed that members of Anti-Romeo squads inspected double the number of “eve-teasing” spots — from 7.97 lakh in 2017 to 14.56 lakh in 2022.“Anti-Romeo squads are active in every district of the state for the safety of women… The squad members conduct checks at different locations and if anyone is found indulging in eve-teasing, they are issued warnings. They are given counselling in the presence of parents and often cases are lodged and arrests are made,” said a senior police officer.
The creation of such squads, meant for the “security of women”, was among BJP’s key poll promises in 2017. It had drawn sharp criticism from opposition parties over its vigilante approach. Under fire, the government finally issued guidelines for the squads and imposed curbs against unnecessary harassment. An Anti-Romeo squad includes a police sub-inspector with at least two constables, including a woman. The squad patrols universities, colleges, cinema halls, parks and other public places identified as vulnerable for women.
Previously, the state government shared such data on Anti-Romeo squads in 2018 and 2020.No such list of government achievements was issued last year as the model code of conduct was in force in the state on account of the Assembly polls.