'No Murga Position': New Dos and Don'ts For UP's Anti-Romeo Squads

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'No Murga Position': New Dos and Don'ts For UP's Anti-Romeo Squads

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Amid complaints, new ground rules for UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's anti-Romeo squads (File)

Lucknow: 

Highlights

  1. UP Police Chief issues new guidelines for "anti-Romeo squad"
  2. He sets down new ground rules amid allegations of harassment by squad
  3. Frisking, sit-ups - other popular forms of punishment - have been banned
After allegations of harassment by "anti-Romeo squads" ordered in Uttar Pradesh by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the police chief has 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 has said in a letter to his force.

There should be no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or faith, he writes.

Since the drive started nearly two weeks ago, numerous young men have been seen in the "murga" posture of squatting and holding their ears, or doing uthak-baithak (sit-ups) while policemen watch. This is now banned.

Frisking by policemen on patrol in public places for "Romeos" - the term used for men who harass women - has also been stopped.

"Couples sitting in public places should not be asked for IDs, questioned, frisked or humiliated," says the letter.

Importantly, there should be no private individual or self-appointed groups going around rounding up young couples or men sitting alone. "The squads will be screened and assessed by officials and briefed by senior policemen before set out each day," the police chief says.

"A lot of women policemen in plainclothes are posted to help the anti-Romeo squads - they should give the correct information about what is objectionable. Treat all those who complain about this at station equally and not on the basis of their identity."

Anti-Romeo squads were promised by the BJP while it was campaigning in UP for polls that it won by a colossal margin. But TV visuals have suggested humiliation of couples and young men, who have been seen hiding their face as they were taken to police stations.

Recently, cousins were hauled up by the police and let off only after their families paid bribe, which was filmed and shown to senior officers.

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