Lucknow: Around 55 cops, who are also members of anti-Romeo squads in Uttar Pradesh, were asked a host of questions after the force faced immense criticism for police dominance during instances of sexual harassment of women at public places.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, they were asked questions on the orders of UP’s DGP (director general of police). How will you behave with couples found at public places? Will you penalize them then and there? Will you frisk them, make them do sit-ups, cross-examine them or do nothing? were some of the questions.
The police force arranged and participated in a sensitisation drive to make amends to the usual perception about the anti-Romeo squad initiative introduced a few days after Yogi Adityanath became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. However, it was tarnished with assertions of police high-handedness.
To better and reframe responses while on duty, policemen were asked questions from a 10-point directive. Cops had to answer questions on the objective of an anti-Romeo squad; if the squad was there to check crime against females, to counter and control harassment of women and girls, to teach lessons to troublemakers or to monitor couples at public places.
Navniet Sekera, the inspector general of police in-charge of the 1090 women helpline service, said the report, “They are being told they do not need to get involved in moral policing or troubling couples. Their work is to ensure that nobody troubled women at public places, outside schools, colleges and in market places”.
Senior police officials said the sensitisation programme would bring about a huge change in the way the initiative is perceived by general public.
The programme surfaces in the light of incidents like a couple being taken to the police station while they were on their way to a movie or that of a men hauled up for escorting their sisters to college.
Babita Singh, the deputy superintendent of police, said answers the policemen came up with varied as each of them hailed from different backgrounds. Cops from urban backgrounds had a different take as compared to the ones with rural roots. The current week’s sessions went on for 7 hours and was presided over by sub-inspectors, constables, a professional psychologist and a legal expert in attendance.
In the session, cops voiced confusion over a situation where spectators objected to couples sitting in public places....