New Delhi: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday, his second day in office, delivered on one of the BJP’s biggest and most polarising poll promises. Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday announced that they were in the process of setting up anti-Romeo squad in the state. These squads will be formed first in the 11 districts that fall under Lucknow zone.
Inspector General (Lucknow zone) A Satish Ganesh said, “In a bid to check eve-teasing and passing of lewd comments against them (women and girls), the ‘Anti-Romeo Dal’ will be constituted in the 11 districts of Lucknow zone. Action will be taken under the Goonda Act against the wrongdoers.”
In the run up to the UP polls, BJP President Amit Shah, in an exclusive interview with Network 18, had said they would set up anti-Romeo squads in UP if voted to power. “In UP, people have stopped sending their daughters to colleges because the girls get harassed. We have promised that BJP will form an anti-Romeo Squad to save these girls. This is not communal,” Shah had told News 18.
During a public meeting in Meerut in February, while lashing out at the Akhilesh Yadav government for failing to preserve law and order, Shah had repeated the promise. “In Uttar Pradesh, every college would be provided with the anti-Romeo squad. Our girls would be safeguarded. These anti-Romeo squads would allow the girls to study without fear in college campuses,” Shah had said.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha by-polls, Yogi Adityanath, then the Gorakhpur MP, was the BJP’s star campaigner. It was during this campaign that the notion of ‘Love Jihad’ by Muslims on Hindu women had gained currency. Adityanath had alleged that Muslim men “woo” Hindu women and convert them to Islam. In videos that have since gone viral, he can even be heard saying “for every Hindu girl who is kidnapped, we will kidnap 100 Muslim women”. He can also be seen encouraging Hindu men to marry Muslim women to “bring them back in the fold”. By implementing this key poll promise so early on in his tenure, Adityanath is sending a clear message to his constituents – he means business.