On 10 January, news anchor Charul Sharma had complained about being sexually harassed and stalked by two men on a scooty while she was travelling in Meerut, UP. She was unable to provide the vehicle number as the scooty did not have a license plate. But she had the presence of mind to snap a photo and a brief video of the two accused men.
Dear @meerutpolice could you please find out these guys who were continuously stalking and Eve teasing me from hapur add till nai sarak. I couldn't note there vehicle number as they didn't had number plate.@ArvindDysp @adgzonemeerut@Uppolice @dgpup pic.twitter.com/VGqm5apcnB
— Anchor Charul Sharma (@Charuls4) January 10, 2021
The anchor, who works for Sahara News Network as per her twitter bio, tagged Meerut Police. Other netizens also requested Police to take prompt and exemplary action, with one person mentioning that a girl had died in an accident while trying to evade similar stalkers.
Within hours, the accused youth – Shahbaz and Mohammed Wasiq – had been apprehended. The information was shared by Shalabh Mani Tripathi, communications advisor to the UP government.
Tripathi said the two would be taught a lesson so that they would not repeat such acts ever again.
Such prompt action based on social media complaints about sexual harassment is becoming a welcome trend in UP under Yogi Adityanath. In February last year, the state’s anti-Romeo police squad sprung into action within half an hour of receiving a sexual harassment complaint via Twitter from a female student who faced harassment while travelling alone from Lucknow to Basti on a UPSRTC bus. The bus was stopped and the two harassers, Rizwan and Hussain from Muzaffarnagar, were arrested.
In 2017, soon after coming to power, the Yogi government had set up ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to counter the menace of sexual harassment and stalking that is rampant in UP, especially West UP. This move was met with a howl of protests by the Lutyens’ crowd, with lawyer Prashant Bhushan resorting to bigoted anti-Hindu tropes of equating Sri Krishna’s playful behaviour with Gopis to sexual harassment, in order to criticise the squads.
However, the verdict from the ground even back then showed how disconnected Lutyens’ elites have become – women & girls of UP heaved a sigh of relief that finally some action was being taken to control the sexual harassment menace.
And the quick action on news anchor Charul Sharma’s complaint gives hope that finally police and society have started taking this social menace seriously. A welcome change indeed from the days of Mulayam Singh Yadav who once justified rape saying ‘boys will be boys’.
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