Uttar Pradesh government’s newly launched anti-Romeo squad to check eve-teasing has roused a new controversy. There is an increasing fear that this new directive of the BJP government could encourage moral policing under the garb of woman protection. In line with these fears, a UP police constable said that they can recognise such ‘Romeos’ just by the look in the eyes.
“Ab kisi ke chehre pe to nahi likha hota ki kaun Romeo hai. Par humari itne saal ki duty hai ki hum ladkon ki ankhon se, unke chehre se aur unke khade hone ke andaz se pehchaan lete hain ki kaun sharif ghar ka hai aur kaun Romeo hai (While people’s faces don’t have ‘Romeo’ written on them, we have been in the police force for so many years that we can identify them just by the look in their eyes, their face, and the way they stand),” a male constable, who is part of the team, told Times of India.
As of now, UP Police has formed multiple teams in different cities of the state that will look out for “miscreants” and prevent crimes against women. In Meerut, a similar team has been formed that keeps a tight vigil on schools, colleges and markets, looking for potential “Romeos” and to “save them from moral collapse”.
SP (city) Alok Priyadarshi, however, claims there is no moral policing. “We are only ensuring the safety of the city. It is not our intention to harass innocents and couples,” he told Times of India.