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UP's anti-Romeo squad shave the head of man held for allegedly molesting a woman

Officers of Uttar Pradesh's 'anti-Romeo squad' on Saturday held a man for allegedly molesting a women and tonsured his head. Police is investigating the matter.

The 'anti-Romeo squad' shaved his head in the presence of policemen who had caught him with a female friend in a public park in Shahjahanpur.

The incident had occurred last week, but the video of it went viral on Friday. Senior police officials and the three constables who were present at the site were suspended soon afterwards, according to a Hindustan Times report.

“Three constables namely, Suhail Ahmed, Laiek Ahmed and Sonu Pal have been accused of involvement in the incident. Prima facie it appears that they were present there and failed to stop those who were shaving the head of the victim. I have ordered their suspension on this ground,” Shahjahanpur SSP, KB Singh said according to the report.

On Friday, the UP police was directed by the state government to ensure its anti-Romeo squads do not resort to blackening of face or 'murga' position type punishments in the name of protecting women.

The move by the government came amid outrage over the way the squads have punished loitering men on the streets and a day after the Allahabad High Court directed it to ensure that guidelines were followed by the police teams and action taken as per the law.

There should be no shaving of heads, blackening of faces or "murga pose" (a stress position used as a corporal punishment where sit-ups are done holding the ears), said a senior official while listing out the dos and don'ts.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The fresh guidelines were issued after the intervention of chief minister Yogi Adityanath amid reports of alleged harassment by anti-Romeo squads.

The special squads of the UP Police were formed after the the BJP government assumed office this month, fulfilling one of the pre-poll promises of the party.

The Allahabad High Court's Lucknow bench of justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjay Harkauli had given its order on a PIL that alleged that police were not following the guidelines during the drive, aimed at checking eveteasing, and it was harassing couples.

The chief minister had also directed administrative and police officials in districts to regularly review the steps being taken for women security and inform senior officials on a regular basis, the official said.

Stressing that his government was firm on upholding the security and dignity of women, he said a state-wide drive has been launched to free public places of anti-social elements and check incidents of eve-teasing, indecent behaviour and passing of lewd comments at women and girls.

The fresh directives were issued by the Home department to identify those involved in misconduct at schools, colleges, bus stations, railway stations, malls and markets.

The government is also firm on checking unnecessary harassment of girls and boys merely in the name of curbing eve-teasing in public places like coffee shops, markets and parks. The government has also made it clear that vigilantism of any sort in this regard will not be tolerated.

With visuals on TV suggesting harassment and humiliation of young couples by anti-Romeo squads at some places, Adityanath asked officials to ensure there was no "unnecessary harassment".

The chief minister had asked the Principal Secretary (Home) to chalk out clear guidelines for anti-Romeo squads and ensure there is no unnecessary harassment of boys and girls moving around or sitting at any place, an official release said.

Anti-Romeo squads, a poll promise of the BJP that pulled off a stunning victory in the recent Assembly polls in UP, drew criticism from certain quarters after visuals of policemen targeting young boys and girls went viral on TV and in social media.

"The idea is to question, check group of boys or boys alone near colleges and other places, and create fear among potential harassers in public places," said a police officer.

However, it was being dubbed as an attempt at moral policing and widely criticised in some quarters as the modus operandi was being compared to the infamous 'Operation Majnu' in 2005, in which boys at crossings and markets were pulled up, and couples in gardens were thrashed by police.

The officer sought to clarify that the only job (of the anti-Romeo squads) was to ensure safety of women and to ensure that eve-teasing does not takes place.

"For this we will also take preventive steps like not permitting miscreants to loiter in public areas where women are known to frequent. I will not say it is moral policing," he said.

The chief minister, who holds the portfolio of Home department, has also asked for effective steps in cases of acid attacks.

Adityanath has termed law and order as the top priority of his government and asked for daily reports from all DMs and SPs on law and order.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Apr 01, 2017 13:22 PM

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