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May reconsider remodelling anti-Romeo squads: UP Minister

IANS | New Delhi |

While admitting "misuse" of the anti-Romeo squads, UP minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi has said the Yogi Adityanath government may reconsider re-framing and remodelling the programme introduced to curb instances of eve-teasing.

In an interview to CNN-News18 to be telecast on Saturday, the Lucknow Cantonment MLA, who switched from the Congress party to the BJP last year, said her old party did not have the energy and will to improve.

"Our intention was never to trouble family members, willing boys and girls or males and females moving together," the State Women and Child Welfare Minister said.

There have been several allegations of the anti-Romeo squads indulging in moral policing and harassing couples.

"It is not an issue of vigilantism. It may have been misused in the beginning. The Chief Minister (Adityanath) has directed all the officials that they should not take law into their own hands…," she said.

"May be some of them (police personnel) are misusing the power given to them. I would personally not want this programme to go off but there should be no trouble or moral policing," she said.

She said the government will gather public opinion including views of the girls.

"If they are happy with this then okay, if they feel that their privacy is being impeached upon, then maybe we will reconsider how to reframe this programme and remodel it," said the 67-year-old politician.

She also disapproved of cow vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.

"There are groups (gau rakshaks) which are trying to prove themselves to be the saviours or custodians of the thought process of their communities but this is wrong."

"If you go to the previous regime in UP, things were worse than they are," she said.

Talking about the Congress, Bahuguna said: "I wish they had not lost the direction. I think they lacked good leadership at regional and district levels and the intention also. They do not have the energy and will to improve their own lot."