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Gorakhpur zone, also the home district of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has accounts for 64 per cent of of all police cases filed by the ‘Anti Romeo Squad’ in the state.
The Gorakhpur zone also accounts for the highest number of accused booked by the squad.
Soon after coming to power, the Yogi government had constituted the squad under UP Police to spearhead the state-wide drive against eve-teasing in public places, such as parks and educational institutions. It was also one of the flagship pre-poll promises of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) apart from banning illegal abattoirs and farm debt waiver.
In the over two months of its existence, the squad had lodged 538 First Information Report (FIR) in the state, of which Gorakhpur zone alone accounts for 341 cases or almost 64%. At the same, the zone comprised 816 of the total 1,264 accused booked by the squad between March 22 and May 28, 2017 by cops.
Gorakhpur zone comprises 3 police ranges viz. Devipatan, Basti and Gorakhpur; and 11 districts, including Bahraich, Balrampur, Gonda, Sravasti, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddarth Nagar, Deoria, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj and Kushi Nagar.
The opposition parties and some rights groups had questioned the constitution of 'Anti Romeo Squad' in the state alleging the cops had been found harassing unsuspecting couples and willing partners visiting parks and other public places.
Yogi was sworn in as the 21st CM of India’s most populous state in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a galaxy of union ministers and peer CMs here on March 19.
After taking charge, Yogi had deftly started cultivating his image as an action-oriented, austere and hard taskmaster CM through frugal lifestyle, elongated work hours, impromptu inspections, public interactions, stern directives and deciding not to reshuffle key bureaucratic and police department posts to preempt any suggestion of vindictiveness by opponents.
The constitution of Anti Romeo Squad to stamp out incidents of eve-teasing and harassment of women was welcomed by the majority of people, especially women folks and the middle-class people.
According to latest available figures released by UP Police, Meerut zone topped among the 8 zones in UP for the total number of checks and swoop downs conducted by the squad during the period with 18%. It also accounted for the maximum number of persons/questioned checked by the squad with almost 26%.
According to the consolidated figures, the Anti Romeo Squad had so far issued the warning to nearly 3,39,000 persons under the state-wide drive after checking over 20,000 places and spots, including parks, schools, stands, railway stations, shopping malls and other public places.
UP Police has time and again reiterated the squad was not mandated to check willing couples visiting public places or unduly harass them.