Lucknow, May 20: The newly-formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh is all set to rename the anti-Romeo squads introduced by it for the protection of women from eve-teasing and molestation. Reportedly, the move comes after the campaign faced criticism from various sections of the society.
Anti-Romeo Squads were highly criticised because of its name as the critics asserted that Romeo is a famous character by Shakespeare and not a molester. They said that Romeo was a lover and lovers generally are not sexual predators. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the new name on which the Yogi Adityanath-led government is mulling upon is ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ (Women Protection Force).
The formation of the anti-romeo squads was one among the many poll promises made by the BJP during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017. The move was hailed by many as it was seen as a great step to provide protection to women in Uttar Pradesh. The cases of crime against women was on a surge during the rule of Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav. However, anti-Romeo squads were criticised by many as there was an increase in the cases of police atrocities on the men and boys in the name of providing protection to women. Many had complained about harassment faced by them even for talking to women.
According to various reports, men/boys were asked to do sit-ups in public while, others were severely beaten by the members of the squads. Few days back, a video surfaced on the internet which showed the members of anti-Romeo squad shaving the head of a man for allegedly molesting a woman.
The anti-Romeo squads received flak and criticism beginning from the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and Sonia Gandhi-led Congress among many other political parties.
Meanwhile, following the footsteps of the Uttar Pradesh government, the BJP-ruled Haryana also constituted a special group to protect women called –Operation Durga–in April.