The new initiative started by Noida police to make the city more worthy and safe for women and girls. The city police will issue “red cards” to offenders found harassing women at public places, like a warning before initiating criminal proceedings against them if they are caught indulging in the act again, officials said on Thursday.
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How does this initiative begin?
Noida Police Wednesday held a meeting of Anti-Romeo squads, wherein it was decided that members of the squad will, in an attempt to make public places safe, issue red cards to suspects. The police will book and arrest red card-holders if the violation is repeated.
Vineet Jaiswal, SP (rural), Gautam Budh Nagar, said the red cards will be a non-coercive measure. “Earlier, there were instances when police called the suspects at police stations. Now, the police will first issue the red cards to them as a warning and get their photo, address and other basic details. If there are found roaming around in an objectionable way after that, action will be taken against them,” he said.
Why the red card?
We all are mostly aware of the ‘red card’ rule in a football game. When a referee brandishes a ‘red card’, the player has to leave the field immediately and is banned for subsequent matches. Taking a cue from this rule, Noida Police will now issue “red cards” to offenders found harassing women at public places, like a warning before initiating criminal proceedings against them if they are caught indulging in the act again. The “red cards” will be served through the Anti-Romeo squads, who are sleuths — both male and female — deployed in public places in plain clothes.
Like in the sports from which the measure is inspired, a red card will also mean that the harasser’s personal details, including his address and contact number, will be taken down in an official register the police will maintain for this purpose. They will act, primarily, as deterrents and warnings and will be issued not just to people actively bothering women but also to those loitering outside education institutions and other public places.
The reason behind the initiative!
In an effort to make the streets safer for women, and to safeguard women from eve-teasing and other forms of harassment, the anti-Romeo squad was formed under the Adityanath government. Now, with a view to strengthening this squad, Noida police will issue red cards as a warning to men and those found harassing women. The initiative is aimed at making the anti-Romeo squad more effective and prevent public nuisance and lewd remarks that are passed on girls by loiterers, a police spokesperson said.
How does this help?
The red cards will have details of the individual like their name, age, address, parents’ information along with the offense for which they have been issued the card such as passing lewd remarks, making objectionable gestures at women, among others, police said.
In order to check harassment of girls and women, the Noida Police also plans to reach out to students in schools and colleges and take their feedback regarding deployment of these squads at public places. And “The police will also reach out to schools and colleges and interact with principals and teachers. Forms will be distributed to female students for their feedback on the deployment of anti-Romeo squads.
“The forms will include questions like places where the girls feel such squads are required – like outside schools, or coaching centers, etc and action would be taken accordingly,” the official said.
Police will also distribute feedback forms to women, especially students, of the city in order to identify areas where women feel most vulnerable. A press statement released by Noida police noted that measures will be taken to intensify security in those areas.
“Earlier, there have been allegations that couples or in some cases men have been made to do sit-ups or punished in similar fashion by the moral police. But now there will be no coercive action, it is only a preventive measure,” Jaiswal told PTI.
He said earlier there would be situations where couples were troubled by the moral police, but now there are clear instructions not to bother the couples in public places.
“In fact, our squads may ask them if they are being troubled by a third person and help them,” he said.
There are 22 police stations in Gautam Buddh Nagar and all have anti-Romeo squads. These squads comprise two women and male constables each, the officials said.