The Greater Noida Police on Wednesday decided to issue “red cards” to men who harass women on streets, The Times of India reported. Men who receive red cards will face criminal action if they are caught for a second time.
“The step is being introduced as a measure to stop this particular type of public nuisance where men sit in groups and pass lewd comments on girls who pass by,” Gautam Budh Nagar (Rural) Superintendent of Police Vineet Jaiswal told the newspaper.
Jaiswal chaired a meeting of anti-Romeo squads at his office, where the decision was taken. The squads will issue red cards when men are found loitering and are unable to provide satisfactory response. Their address, photograph and parents’ phone numbers will be noted down and the records will be maintained digitally, Jaiswal said.
“Earlier we used to bring these suspects to police stations but they used to get released,” the police officer said. “With this system, we will give them a warning...If a suspect is found to be involved in similar activity again, we will ensure a criminal inquiry under sections of public nuisance and molestation, depending upon the nature of the offence.”
Starting Thursday, the district police will also ask residents, specially women at schools and colleges, for anonymous feedback to identify localities where such offences occur frequently. The police will deploy teams accordingly to curb harassment. “After a month, we will repeat the activity to measure the change,” said Jaiswal.
Each team will have at least one sub-inspector and two men and two women constables, The Indian Express reported. They will patrol the areas in uniforms as well as in plain clothes.
“The red card is essentially a non-coercive measure which will serve as a warning to those who harass women verbally or non-verbally,” Jaiswal told The Indian Express. “The card is aimed at serving as a deterrent to people who make women feel unsafe.”
The superintendent said often men hang around colleges, schools and coaching centres to harass women walking home. “The feedback form will help us identify such areas, and we can ensure strict vigil,” he added.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had set up “anti-Romeo squads” in the state in 2017 to protect women from street harassment but the exercise was criticised because authorities were found harassing couples.