The Uttar Pradesh police was on Friday directed by the state government to ensure its Anti-Romeo Squads do not resort to blackening of the face or "murga" position type punishments in the name of protecting women.
The move by the government comes amid outrage over the way the squads have punished loitering men on the streets, and a day after the Allahabad High Court directed it to ensure that guidelines were followed by the police teams and action taken as per the law.
There should be no shaving of heads, blackening of faces or "murga pose" (a stress position used as a corporal punishment where sit-ups are done holding the ears), said a senior official while listing out the dos and don'ts.
The fresh guidelines were issued after the intervention of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath amid reports of alleged harassment by Anti-Romeo Squads.
The special squads of the UP Police were formed after the BJP government assumed office this month, fulfilling one of the pre-poll promises of the party.
The Chief Minister has also directed administrative and police officials in districts to regularly review the steps being taken for women security, and inform senior officials on a regular basis, the official said.
Stressing that his government was firm on upholding the security and dignity of women, he said a state-wide drive has been launched to free public places of anti-social elements and check incidents of eve-teasing, indecent behaviour and passing of lewd comments at women and girls.
The government is also firm on checking unnecessary harassment of girls and boys merely in the name of curbing eve-teasing in public places like coffee shops, markets and parks.
The government has also made it clear that vigilantism of any sort in this regard will not be tolerated.
With visuals on TV suggesting harassment and humiliation of young couples by Anti-Romeo Squads at some places, Adityanath asked officials to ensure there was no "unnecessary harassment".
CM Yogi Adityanath asked the Principal Secretary (Home) to chalk out clear guidelines for Anti-Romeo Squads, and ensure there is no unnecessary harassment of boys and girls moving around or sitting at any place, an official release said.
Anti-Romeo Squads, a poll promise of the BJP that pulled off a stunning victory in the recent Assembly polls in UP, drew criticism from certain quarters after visuals of policemen targeting young boys and girls went viral on TV and in social media.
A Police OfficerThe idea is to question, check a group of boys, or boys alone near colleges and other places, and create fear among potential harassers in public places.
However, it was being dubbed as an attempt at moral policing and widely criticised in some quarters as the modus operandi was being compared to the infamous 'Operation Majnu' in 2005, in which boys at crossings and markets were pulled up, and couples in gardens were thrashed by police.
The Chief Minister, who holds the portfolio of Home department, has also asked for effective steps in cases of acid attacks.
Adityanath has termed law and order as the top priority of his government and asked for daily reports from all DMs and SPs on law and order.