Gender Sensitization, Not ‘Romeo’ Policing Needed, say Activists — Global Issues

Activists have demanded that the police be sex-sensitive, instead of the so-called Romeo detachment. Source: Twitter
  • by Mehru Jaffer (lucky)
  • Associated Press Service

Although the name symbolizes love, different acts of affection and love between women and men can be considered an offense in UP. For their own safety, women are advised not to see their partner in love with their partner, especially in public places – because of the state police department’s anti-Romeo teams. can arrest them.

“The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has full provisions to arrest and prosecute men who harass women. The anti-Romeo squad has become a tool to harass and shame young men and women. It has no place in a civilized democracy,” Bobby Naqvi, senior journalist and former editor of Gulf News, told IPS. “Disturbing images of these youth harassment teams have damaged India’s reputation as the largest democracy and a country where nearly 230 million people are between the ages of 15 and 24.”

Shortly after the government was formed on March 25, an order was passed to revive the anti-Romeo squads. The teams were first formed in 2017 to protect women in public places.

Women’s rights advocates, including activists Aruna Roy, Kavita Srivastava, Kalyani Menon Sen and lawyers Indira Jaising and Vrinda Grover, issued a joint statement in 2017 asking anti-Romeo teams in UP must be disbanded immediately and replaced by permanent legislation and institutional measures to ensure the safety of women. However, the unpopular lineup is now back in action.

Renu Mishra, executive director of the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI), a Lucknow-based nonprofit, sees the anti-Romeo detachment as another way to control women. female.

Women’s activists argue that there is a need for gender sensitivity by police, an increase in the number of female police officers, an enabling environment for women to file FIRs, and the need for more frequent convictions.

They argue that the anti-Romeo squads are a material manifestation of the patriarchy that sees women as helpless creatures that need to be protected rather than empowered.

According to Namita Bhandare, a writer on social and gender issues, there is no need for a lineup.

In their previous incarnation, a lot of stories about the excesses of the team. Some young men accused of harassing girls have been forced to shave their heads. A female police officer asked a young man to stand up and sit down because he was with a female friend. A video of a similar incident has gone viral and led to anger over similar outrageous behaviour.

The Romeo Hunters were disbanded, but now that government is back in action for another 5 years and they’re back. In the eyes of the ruling party, the name Romeo conjures images of an ‘Eve’ teaser, a female harasser and a stalker. Anti-Romeo squads are expected to perform the role of brave knights who help women defend their purity and honor. UP police say they are trying to put as many Romeos on the roadside as possible to end harassment of women.

Many in the community viewed the teams with awe and when IPS tried to talk to former victims of the anti-Romeo team, they refused for fear of reprisals.

Despite the team’s return, there is no sign that crimes against women have decreased. In statistics released earlier this year by the National Commission on Women (NCW), more than 31,000 crimes against women were reported, and more than half from Uttar Pradesh.

The anti-Romeo team seems powerless against politically powerful men who claim to be religious and wear saffron robes but threaten to rape women.

In April, a video surfaced on social media showing a clean-shaven man in a saffron robe talking over a loudspeaker from inside a car. He threatened to kidnap and rape Muslim women.

The speaker has been identified as Mahant Bajrang Muni Das of Maharishi Sri Laxman Das Udasin Ashram in the Khairabad area of ​​Sitapur, about 80 km from Lucknow.

“I say this with love for you that I will openly drag your daughter-in-law and your daughter out of your house and rape them if any Hindu girl is harassed in Khairabad. Muslims will be killed if any Hindu is killed here.”

NCW President Rekha Sharma wrote to the state sheriff to register the FIR and arrest the accused. Congress party spokesman Supriya Shrinate said that Bajrang Muni was an insult to the Hindu religion and that his rape threat mocked law and order in the UP.

Shrinate told the Minister that he should take action against anyone who threatens to rape women.

Report of the United Nations Office IPS

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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