N.Delhi, 2017.04.02 (VT): Lawyer and politician Prashant Bhushan‘s comments on Twitter making fun of new UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s anti-Romeo squads, comparing Lord Krishna to an “Eve teaser,” did not amuse those who believe in Lord Krishna. Indeed, some leaders of Adityanath’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are threatening to start legal proceedings saying that this is a provocation that it “insults a Deity” and “hurts people’s religious sentiments.”
Tajinder Bagga, a spokesman for the BJP in Delhi accused Bhushan of “intentionally and deliberately” posting “derogatory remarks ….for the purpose of insulting and outraging the religious sentiments of Hindu community.”
Sri Bhushan’s tweet read: “Romeo loved just one lady,while Krishna was a legendary Eve teaser. Would Adityanath have the guts to call his vigilantes Anti-Krishna squads?”
During his campaign, the incendiary Adityanath not only promised to set up anti-Romeo squads, but also stated that if “anyone is found teasing girls, they would be hanged publicly.”
A mere two days after being sworn in, Adityanath made good on his promise. He intends these ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to be present in public spaces and educational institutes to prevent ‘eve-teasing’ and ensuring women’s safety.
On day one after the announcement, 22 such squads, including policewomen, fanned out in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. They have continued to patrol since, but there have been allegations of moral policing and unwanted harassment of men by these squads.
Prashant Bhushan later offered a number of tweets in his own defense afterwards:
My tweet on the Romeo brigades is being distorted. My position is: By the logic of Romeo Brigade, even Lord Krishna would look like an eve teaser. We have grown up with legends of young Krishna teasing the Gopis. The logic of the Romeo squad would criminalise this. Didn’t intend to hunt sentiments. Though I am not religious, my mother was. I grew up listening to the folklore of lord Krishna in childhood. This is a painting of Radha-Krishna in our home. [edited]
The initiative has generally been popular. As one commentator answered Mr. Bhushan, “Has your daughter been eve teased, groped, kissed, or been the subject of lewd and sexist remarks? Can you tolerate that? May be you can otherwise you wont compare Krishna with present-day ‘Romeos’.”
There have been cases where the police have overplayed their hand, but the Yogi Adityanath government has issued clear directions to police and administration to ensure that youngsters are not troubled unnecessarily in the name of curbing eve-teasing and action is taken against self-proclaimed “anti-Romeo” squads who indulge in moral policing. In the meantime, there have been several legal reactions to the steps taken by the Yogi government.
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