freedom", women activists have demanded that the squad be disbanded immediately.
Soon after the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government assumed office in the state, anti-Romeo squads were constituted for the safety of women.
The state government had also directed the police that no inhumane measure be adopted in the name of ensuring security to women. The group alleged that the squads were policemen and women and vigilante groups who were operating outside the purview of law, with support of the Uttar Pradesh government. They said the serious issue of violence against women including sexual harassment in the state cannot be addressed by setting up these squads.
Moreover, the group also demanded closure of FIRs and complaints against advocate Prashant Bhushan stating that "curbing freedom of speech was not just intolerance, but violation of fundamental rights". The women activists, including Aruna Roy, noted lawyer and human rights activist Indira Jaising, Syeda Hameed of Muslim Women’s Forum and Dipa Sinha, convenor of Right to Food Campaign, said these “squads” imposed their own aggressive and arbitrary code through moral policing.
"The free run given to vigilante groups in UP raises serious concerns about the subversion of rule of law by them. There is an urgent need to implement laws preventing violence against women more effectively," they said. Raising objections, the group said, "We, therefore, strongly disapprove of the process of this form of policing, including its outsourcing to private actors in some cases, which the DGP police and the Lucknow SSP have acknowledged, in their letters issued in this regard." (UNI)