Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh may soon rename the ‘anti-Romeo’ squads as ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ (Women’s Protection Force). Operationalised within days after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP)-led government was formed in the state, the squad was responsible for crackdown on eve-teasing activities and harassment of women in the state.
“Behen betiyon ka samman sarkaar ki prathmikta hai. Ab anti-Romeo squad ka naam ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ kar diya gaya hai (Protecting the honour of our sisters and daughters is the top priority for our government. Anti-Romeo squads would now be known as Nari Suraksha Bal,”) a leading daily, quoted Rajendra Pratap ‘Moti’ Singh.
However, there was no specific reason given by the UP minister for renaming anti-romeo squads to Nari Suraksha Bal.
“Safety of women is the sole intent of the squad, not moral policing,” former UP Director General of Police Javeed Ahmed had said at the time when anti-romeo squads was active in the state.
The BJP-led government had to face severe criticism for forming these anti-romeo squad after the opposition parties expressed their concern that such squads might even target genuine couples at public places.
The state police had plans on instating these squads in-around 75 districts of the state.