Road Romeos Beware! Koraput ASP’s Squad Is Here To Make Streets Safer For Women
**Bhubaneswar:** They are observant. They are powerful. They are everywhere. Koraput’s anti-Romeo squad led by Additional SP Sagarika Nath has taken the pledge to make roads safer for girls and women. The team might be lurking in the shadows in civilian clothes waiting for the right moment to strike when eve-teasers, road rashers start their shenanigans. So, street Romeos beware! Your time is up.
On September 4, IPS Sagarika Nath joined duty as Additional Superintendant of Police in Koraput. Following that, she received several messages on her Whatsapp by young girls complaining about eve-teasing and road-side harassment. Few girls were fed up by the antics of the ‘Romeos’ to a point where they had to personally call Nath on her phone and cry out their grievances.
After intimation about this epidemic to Koraput SP Kanwar Vishal Singh, a 9-member anti-Romeo squad was decidedly formed on September 21 to make the streets safer for girls and women. The sole purpose of the squad, “Women of all ages should be able to walk confidently and fearlessly on the streets.”
Speaking to OMMCOM NEWS about the modus operandi of this squad, IPS Sagarika Nath said, “We started narrowing down the locations from where we had received the most number of complaints. In Koraput town, the main location was Pujariput and in Jeypore, the most problematic areas were Rajnagar Chhak and the road in front of VD College.”
“Then we tried to understand the timings of the Romeos. They mostly strike when girls are coming out of their schools, colleges or tuitions and are headed back home. They tease and pass lewd comments, putting the girls in a very uncomfortable situation. We decided to patrol the areas at that particular time so that miscreants can learn a lesson,” added Nath.
Most of these anti-social elements are on bikes and they flee from the spot driving recklessly across busy streets as soon as they spot the next victim. Thus, road rashers are also not being spared by this newly-formed squad.
Over 300 youngsters have already been rounded up for violating traffic rules, driving without license or riding vehicle sans registration numbers. Plans to take this to the next level is already in talks as Nath wants to involve the Regional Transport Office in order to ease the process of getting a learner’s license for minor kids so that a they can be held accountable for mishaps and thus slowly develop a habit of road safety.
After detaining these ‘Romeos’ for a few hours, they are released with a warning. But that is not all, as sometimes the squad even calls on their parents to inform them about their ward’s actions. “We try to explain to their parents that if you have given your child the vehicle than you should also teach him how to drive it responsibly. Rash driving can someday kill your own son. And, fortunately parents understand this and have given positive responses on the squad instead of getting mad at us for detaining their ward,” said Nath.
With patrolling in specific locations of Sunabeda and Semiliguda next in line, the squad will also increase the frequency of checks in public places like parks, markets and main roads. The woman PCR vehicle that was launched from ‘Mahila Thana’ will also become an important stakeholder in this squad. The team also aims at encouraging girls to take a stand against these anti-social elements by speaking out their grievances. With the festive season approaching, the shenanigans of the Romeos might spike and thus the squad has tightened its belt to take on streets of Koraput.
Explaining the tricky part behind this initiative, Nath said, “Obviously, we cannot arrest the eve-teaser until the girl files a complaint but, if we see someone in action then we can register a suo motu case against the person and take necessary action. But, we do not want to take such strict measures against these Romeos as they are mostly below the age of 18. So, for now we are sticking to community policing. We talk to these boys and warn them,” explained Nath.
“Slowly, the word about anti-Romeo squad patrolling the streets is beginning to do the rounds and is thus striking terror in the minds of the roadside Romeos,” concluded Koraput ASP.
So the next time you hear the word ‘Dabangg’, do not imagine Salman Khan, as the real-life heroes are out there on the streets fighting for your rights.