What are Uttar Pradesh’s “anti-Romeo” squads really looking to stop? It may not just be men, young or old, who are out to molest or stalk women, but the entire idea of romantic love.

Sneha Gupta of Meerut’s Raghunath College told the news channel CNN-News18, “Girls shouldn’t have boyfriends in college, for Indian society doesn’t permit us to have boyfriends in college,” adding that she had even banned the use of mobile phones in college.

Hers is not an isolated view. Consider what state Chief Minister Adityanath’s Yuva Vahini members, who have taken the law into their hands and are policing the state on their own, had this to say to CNN-News18: “We have problems with girls roaming around with their boyfriends,” they declared.

Asked under whose authority the self-appointed moral police are operating, one of them said, “You don’t need anyone’s authority to do good work,” going on to add that is wrong for girls to walk around with their boyfriends because it sets a “bad example for other ‘simple girls’”. Their assertion, “Do what you have to behind closed doors.”