Women activists want ban on anti-Romeo squads

Demanding immediate ban on Anti-Romeo squads in Uttar Pradesh, women's activists have alleged that the 'self-declared' volunteers of "Anti-Romeo Squads" are threat to women's freedoms.

"The serious issue of violence against women and routine sexual harassment of fairer sex in Uttar Pradesh cannot be addressed by setting up anti-Romeo squads. These "squads" impose their own aggressive and arbitrary code through moral policing," the activists said in joint letter signed by imminent social activists, including Aruna Roy, Indira Jaising, Vrinda Grover, etc.

Highlighting the wrong doings of volunteers of social policing outfit, the activists said, "It has already come to light that in many cases these "anti-romeo squads" have become an even greater source of harassment and fear for women and men. It has also been acknowledged by UP police in its March 22 order."

"We therefore strongly disapprove the process of this form of policing, including its outsourcing to private actors in some cases," they said, adding, "Maintaining law and order is primary function of the state and nothing can be done contrary to law in the name of addressing women's safety issue."

"The so-called Anti-Romeo squads are being encouraged by a state which reneges on its own obligations to maintain law and order. When the right to personal liberty and privacy is compromised by these squads, the state must be held fully accountable for such violations, and must be made to restore the dignity of the citizens," the joint letter said, which has been signed by 20 noted social activists.

The group has also demanded quashing of FIR and complaints against advocate Prashant Bhushan apart from setting up a prompt grievance redressal mechanism to deal with cases of sexual harassment.



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