After drawing severe criticism for forming anti-romeo squads soon after he assumed office, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has now rebranded them as “Nari Suraksha Bal” (women’s protection force).
“Behen betiyon ka samman sarkaar ki prathmikta hai. Ab anti-Romeo squad ka naam ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ kar diya gaya hai (Protecting the honour of our sisters and daughters is the top priority for our government. Anti-Romeo squad would now be known as Nari Suraksha Bal),” Rajendra Pratap ‘Moti’ Singh said at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Lucknow, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
Adityanath had formed anti-Romeo squads to “protect women” and crackdown on “eve-teasers” across the state in March.
The move, which came after the CM ordered to ban illegal slaughterhouses and put a blanket ban on cigarettes and gutkha in government offices, drew criticism from many after the police conducted raids on parks, malls and colleges to deter the so-called Romeos.
These special vigilantes created a stir across the country, with the release of video footages showcasing innocent men and couples being subjected to harsh treatment. The move even generated a widespread interest in the international media.
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad court upheld the decision of the UP government for forming the anti-Romeo squad .The court, however, cautioned against overreacting and said the police must act only as per law and not do anything outside its purview.
According to the report, some police officers admitted there was a feeling that the anti-Romeo squads were attracting negative publicity due to their “wrong branding.”