Shahjahanpur: "He has done a wrong thing...he will not do it the next time," a voice is heard in a video that shows a man sitting on the ground, his head being shaved in the presence of police constables from an "anti-Romeo" squad in Shahjahanpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
"Sir, it will not happen again," the man, accused of harassing a woman, pleads.
The video, apparently shot on March 22, has gone viral on social media. The three policemen in the video have been suspended and a probe ordered, amid much outrage.
"A young couple was sitting at a public place. Some locals ordered that the hair of the youth be shaved off. Three policemen Suhail, Laiq and Sonu were present but they did not stop the crowd. When the matter was brought to the notice of the station house officer, he too did not act," an official said.
Launched about two weeks ago by Yogi Adityanath, the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, 'anti-Romeo drive' is an initiative that places police personnel on patrol in public spaces to protect women from being stalked and harassed.
However, there have been allegations of police excess and harassment. A number of young men have been seen squatting and holding their ears, or doing sit-ups as policemen watch. In Rampur, policemen were even caught on camera harassing cousins and taking a bribe for their release.
After allegations of harassment by the squad, the UP police chief established some ground rules in a series of letters issued recently.
There should be "no hair-shaving, blackening of the face or murga punishment," Director General of Police Javeed Ahmed had said in a letter to his force.
Yogi Adityanath too has warned "anti-Romeo squads" against troubling couples and moral policing