How UP’s anti-Romeo squads are harassing random men

Why are random men being trashed on streets by cops?

Recently, India’s largest state by population, Uttar Pradesh (UP), elected the conservative pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power. They in turn appointed a man named Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister (CM). This is a state which feminists would describe as a stronghold of patriarchy. They would also describe the CM, Yogi Adityanath, as a bigot and a misogynist. He is an actual member of a Hindu religious order. He is also known for writing essays criticizing Islam, western feminism and supporting Hindu supremacy. In a particular essay titled “Matrushakti: Bharatiya Sanskruti ke Sandarbh mein” (translation: Women Power: In the context of Indian culture), he argued that women should be given equality lest they see themselves as downtrodden and turn to western feminism, destroying the traditional family values (page 3).One would imagine that his reign would bring nightmares to the women of UP. But instead, the first move he made as CM was address the issue of women’s safety by ordering the police to form anti-Romeo squads. This is a state with severe problems like overpopulation, pollution, unemployment, and basic sanitation. Now this supposed bigot and misogynist was making women’s safety his first priority. The feminists couldn’t believe it. They thought he had lost his mind.

The primary aim of these anti-Romeo squads is to patrol and check crimes against women, primarily cat-calling. Roadside-Romeo is an Indian euphemism for a cat-caller, while eve-teasing refers to cat-calling. In UP, these special police patrols planted themselves in and around places where young women frequent, such as university campuses, near schools, public parks, bazaars and malls. Sometimes members of these squads roam around in plainclothes to caught the cat-callers unaware.

The concept of anti-Romeo squads is not new in India, but for first time they’re acting under the directives from a CM. Sometimes when reports of crime against women increase in a district, the police may form such patrol groups. Sometimes citizens also form watch-groups with similar objectives. However, most of the time all these devolve into Taliban-style morality preaching squads. These are frequently used by conservative parents of girls to threaten boyfriends they don’t approve of. They are also used for petty revenge and extortion. The boys caught by them are usually booked under the anti eve-teasing law or IPC Section 509, under which only men can be charged. This law has been misused so much recently that it had a conviction rate of only 10% in 2015 according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

As expected, the anti-Romeo squads in UP have turned to moral policing. They have begun questioning couples hanging around in parks and malls. If found to be unmarried, the couples are subjected to a heavy dose of moral lecturing and quite often the boy is assaulted for leading the girl astray. The girls are usually let off which a warning as they are thought of incapable of any immorality.

The issue was taken to the state High Court which backed the squads and refused to accept what they were doing is moral policing. The feminists have begun protesting these squads. They argue that these squads are causing greater fear among women than cat-callers, as women can be pulled up for merely talking to a man.

However, it should be noted that these conservative squads fashion themselves as gallant rescuers of damsels in distress. The real victims are thus the men who are fined, assaulted and humiliated. The women are sometimes subjected to lectures and held until their parents pick them up, at worst.

In a particular incident, the squad tied up, kicked around and tonsured a 21-year-old man who gave a lift to his female classmate. His ordeal was captured and circulated online for its apparent hilarity by one of the cops. The girl was allowed to leave unmolested. The guy was then charged with illegal assembly of all things. One cannot have a cat-calling charge without a victim after all.

In another incident, 40 overenthusiastic cops raided a private resident only to catch a female student taking study notes from her tutor. They were taken to the police station where they were interrogated by the police to their satisfaction, following which they were released to their family members. The tutor would probably think twice before taking on a female student in the future. He was just trying make an honest living.

Another unbelievable incident occurred when a 18-year-old boy was caught when he was accompanying his female cousin to a shop. They were held at a police station until their relatives arrived. The boy was made to pay a INR 5000 (USD 77) bride to avoid charges. They managed to film the exchange and had to approach a state assembly-man to seek justice.

It is possible that these squads may have prevented some cat-calling, possibly even some cases of rape and schoolgirl grooming. But the question is, is it worth living in a state of constant terror. Everyday police blatantly pick up random boys for hovering around schools, colleges, cigarette stalls, betel shops and even pastry shops for “questioning”. A boy who was similarly harassed told The Times of India, “For them, any young boy in public on a bike is a ‘majnu’ (Romeo).” A father whose son was picked up said, “It is not the police’s job to decide where boys can stand and where they cannot. My son is 19, and is an adult. It makes no sense to call up his father to say that his son is loitering around.” Everyday people keep posting new videos and pictures of young men begin mocked, humiliated and being handed corporal punishment in public. (Although the government has prohibited cruel and humiliating punishments in public, they continue to be reported.)

From all of this, one comes away with impression that this so-called patriarchal government wants to protect women so much that every single man is a potential rapist. Now, more conservative states are copying these so-called crime prevention tactics. Today, Haryana launched a similar program under the name “Operation Durga” (named after the Hindu goddess of war). Under the ongoing scenario, it is prudent for young men to avoid women, even their own relatives, in public for their own safety. They should also refuse to give lift or tell directions to female strangers. This should also serve as an eye-opening to anyone who thinks conservative political parties are pro-men and anti-feminist. They are gynocentric like all the left-wing parties, but have a different way of expressing it.

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Indian woman rants about arranged marriages on Reddit, provides some interesting insights into the arranged marriage system.

Recently on Reddit /r/India, user ibarmy wrote a long rant about the trials and tribunals she was going through while looking for an arranged marriage. By reading the post, one can come to the conclusion that she is upper middle class, well educated, internet-savvy and has some experience in the dating scene. It is also evident that she is in the age range of 27-30, after which her chances of getting married will become much slimmer. Yet, she remains stubbornly picky and entitled. Even her user flair reads “Unicorn ki talaash mein~~” or “in search of the Unicorn”.

She begins by describing how most Indian women (including expats and their descendants) eventually realize that the attention and validation they receive on social network are worth nothing. The men they fancy are not worthy of marriage because they are too “poor” or a “mama’s boy” (meaning they will put their family before their wife). At this point, they begin to fall back on the aid of their relatives to snag up a rich smuck through arranged marriage.

She admits being envious of women who are fair and pretty, with C-cup breasts and taller that 5’5″ (a common Indian beauty standard), as they will be able to hitch up with a workhorse quite easily. She claims that her “manual” is for women who are unable to snag a fish even in a skewed marriage market like India (amid a scarcity of females), despite being willing to pay to large sums of dowry. What she does not realize is that the price of dowry is soaring because women like her are hypergamous and encourage others to be like that. As a result, the top 1% men are able ask for large dowries. She also says that her manual is not for women who want true love as most Indian men are regressive and want “hot kinky girlfriends but nice docile girls as wives”. This accusation is mostly unfair as Indian men are quick to jump into commitment and any ordinary man trying to walk away from a relationship can be easily slapped with a rape charge. It would be more accurate to say that the rich bad boys, for whom they are willing to be kinky, are not willing to marry them.

She then describes how women spend hours at a professional photographer’s studio to get the most flattering photographs taken. Many Indian photographers actually specialize in this pre-matrimonial ad-like photography. These mostly photoshopped photographs are then sent off to fool prospective grooms. It is should be called false advertising by any other name. Then she has the audacity to call it pesky and tiring. She then turns her ire on prospective grooms who do not get their photos taken professionally, and send in selfies or casual photos. If anything, they should be applauded for honesty. The author of the post wonders if men are too busy watching shitty movies on the weekends to go and get their pictures taken.

The subsequent section is dedicated to the criticism of the bio-data the prospective grooms must send in to the bride’s family. This is supposed to be an advertisement of their academic credentials and earning power. The author of the post criticizes them for their bad composition. Interestingly however, she talks only about three types of academic credentials. These are most sought after ones.

The first one is the graduate from one of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). These public-funded universities are considered to be the premier institutions of technical education in India. Every year graduates are snagged from their campuses by recruiters from multi-national firms. The salaries offered to these kids are actually reported as news by national newspapers. India produces only 10,000 of these graduates annually. Given that the IITs have a male-to-female ratio of 10:1, these men make some of the most eligible bachelors in India and among the Indian diaspora. Every year millions of aspirants (mostly male), try to crack the entrance exam. Many among them go ronin for 2-3 years after graduating high school and study everyday for hours at cram schools, only a small fraction of them make it. The suicide rate among these ronins is quite high. It is understandable that most girls won’t be interested in wasting 2-3 years of their youth on such silly pursuits, especially when they are confident (or deluded) enough to think that they will be able to snag one of these sex-starved geeks when they graduate.

The second one is the engineer with an MBA. People who fail to get into the IITs tend to buff up their CVs by adding an MBA. Though the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are preferred, but any MBA school will almost double the salary of an engineer with some work experience. Several MBA schools have popped up in recent years to cater to this crowd. But in the end your salary is determined by whether you went to good expensive school or a cheap one. Even the public-funded IIMs charge up to INR 2200000 (USD 31,000) for a two year post-graduate course. This obviously requires a loan on the part of most Indians.

The third is the doctor of medicine (not to be confused with dentists or practitioners of traditional medicines). The author admits that she is under a lot of pressure to marry a doctor. This is mostly because India is facing a scarcity of doctors, thus having a doctor in the family would provide quick access to the medical fraternity in these days when getting an appointed can be very difficult. This would also reduce the extended family’s medical bills in this age of soaring healthcare costs, by providing free medical consultations to all her relatives. However, the doctors prefer to marry other doctors, failing which they prefer stay-at-home trophy wives. These wives are expected to hold the fort while the docs are off doing 12-hour shifts and doing private consultations on the side to pay off 10-12 years worth of student loans. (See doctorsmarry.com, a site where gold-diggers go to seek doctors.) This irks the author to no end. (It is doubtful these accomplished men would have time or care to get a photograph taken professionally.)

It should be obvious by now that men with these credentials are as rare as the Abominable Snowman in the crowd that is the Indian marriage market. On top of that, the Abominable Snowman must also of the same sub-caste as the bride. This makes them even rarer. Thus, these rare specimen of the Indian male must be lured with wafts of big wads of Gandhi notes, in other words – dowry. The dowry culture is frequently blamed on greedy men by feminists. But the question is that can these men, who have spent years acquiring these degrees and probably are still paying off their student loans, afford not to be greedy? One may criticize a poor farmer for asking a hefty dowry, but can these men resist themselves a handful when a platter of notes are being offered to them. (Within every sub-caste such a scarcity exists, which allows second-choice men to also somewhat ramp up their values.) The author describes how families sell their properties to pay for the dowry. She may be excused for overstating the value of dowry these sort of men usually require. Most dowries nowadays are given disguised in the form of bridal gifts to the newly-wed couple due to strict anti-dowry laws. Although many smart men nowadays pay for the wedding and avoid taking any form of dowry, even a small amount accepted from the bride’s family can be used as leverage. It is also not unusual for dowry charges to be made up even in cases where none was accepted.

After a groom fulfills all the basic requirements, his and prospective bride’s horoscopes are sent to the family astrologer who then must approve of the match. If the stars align and the match happens, his family is invited to meet the prospective bride’s family and the bride herself. Usually the groom doesn’t attend these initial meetings as the compatibility of the families is more important. The man is expected to be a workhorse, raising kids and taking of the his aging parents. The author describes how to doll-up for these meetings and emphasizes on keeping the makeup balanced – not too ugly and not too slutty. She advises women on wearing clever dresses and contraptions like body shapers to hide the fact that they are fat. Soon afterwards she mocks the grooms who come to the follow-up meetings with balding heads and potbellies. The rotting cadaver of irony can be spotted at this point.

Now she describes how the groom’s family use these meetings to further advertise the man to the point of overselling. (It is not unusual for suspicious women to hire detective agencies to spy on the groom and check veracity of these claims.) She also advises women to set their Facebook feeds to private much before these meetings. She is disgusted by how she is not asked about her academic achievements and instead is asked about her cooking skills and hobbies. The author expresses her dread of becoming an unfortunate trophy wive of a rich smuck.

By the end of the post, it becomes extremely difficult for a man to sympathize with the author. One would think that Reddit /r/India, which is by majority male, would be disgusted and repulsed by the post. However, the white-knights applauded the post and one even bestowed Reddit Gold on the post. Only one user Hades_Lost_Soul pointed out the obvious fact that although the author was portraying herself as a victim who must adhere to high standards to get married, but she herself does not have the self-awareness to see that she holds men to a much-much higher standard. The author doesn’t reveal whether she is an engineer from an IIT or a doctor, to deserve such a highly sought match. (May be she has looks of a divine apsara but it is doubtful, as aspara are not known for wearing body shapers.) A man fulfilling her criteria would do better by marrying an orphan or the daughter of a laborer, he is more likely to receive some gratitude from them, which is unlikely from someone like the author.

A lot of upper middle-class problems described by the author would be solved if women like her were to marry down or marry at par. But unfortunately hypergamy is genetically ingrained in women. They will continued to be kinky girlfriends for rich bad boys and then pine for engineers or doctors in their post-wall years. And these men continue to be labelled as greedy for not marrying down without being lured by hefty dowries.

Woman bikes through Middle East to prove it is safe for women

You probably have heard of Pippa Bacca who decided to hitchhike from Italy to the Balkans to the Middle East wearing a white wedding dress, to send a message of peace and “marriage between different peoples and nations.” She was raped and murdered in April 2008 by a driver who offered her a lift in Turkey.

Undeterred by this incident, a British female reporter, Rebecca Lowe, decided to ride a bicycle from London to Tehran in July 2015. Her account was recently published by BBC and Huffington Post. According to her,

My aims were simple: develop enviably shapely calves, survive and shed light on a region long misunderstood by the West.

Mostly, I wanted to show that the bulk of the Middle East is far from the volatile hub of violence and fanaticism people believe. And that a woman could cycle through it safely.

In my opinion, cycling is slightly safer than hitchhiking as you don’t have to rely on strangers all the time. However during the trip Rebecca Lowe was almost raped like Pippa Bacca several times, according to her own account,

In Jordan, Egypt and Iran, I was groped, ogled and propositioned with disappointing regularity.

In Egypt, one randy tuk-tuk driver got his comeuppance following a juicy bum squeeze by being beaten to a pulp by the police convoy on my tail – my horror at their brutality only outdone by my undisguised glee.

In Jordan, a truck driver who’d picked me up following a puncture repeatedly asked for kisses and grabbed my breasts. Fortunately his bravado ceased abruptly at the sight of my penknife wafting ominously close to his crotch.

So it seems that she was provided with a police escort at some places, probably because they did not want a dead reporter on their desks. At some places, she had to do her business outdoors due to a lack of toilets,

Toilets were a serious concern. In the remote gold mining regions of northern Sudan, where few women ventured, there simply weren’t any.

“Look around you,” a man at one roadside shack told me, gesturing to the entirely exposed desert behind him. “The Sahara is your toilet.”

At a party in Tehran, she discovered a very interesting fact from a female lawyer,

The lawyer told me that only around a fifth of the women at the party were likely to be virgins, but the rest were probably having anal sex to preserve their hymen. ‘The men here are among the most open-minded in Iran,’ she said. ‘But underneath they still want their wife to be a virgin.’

But in the end, how did she rate her experience?

So is it safe for a woman to cycle alone across the Middle East? With the right precautions, yes.

Would I let my daughter do it? Absolutely not in a month of Sundays – are you mad?

If you won’t let your daughter do it, then how can it be considered safe at all? There are millions of women and girls living in the Middle East. Should they be all considered safe? These articles serve as a reminder of this strange relationship western media has with Islam and Middle East. They are quick to condemn the slightest slight inflicted on Muslims in the West. But mostly downplay the human rights violations being carried out in Muslim-dominant nations.