MEERUT: The communal riots of 2013 in UP‘s Muzaffarnagar was triggered by an incident of sexual harassment. A common occurrence in these parts of western Uttar Pradesh, the district magistrate here has now in an order directed the police to create special ‘Majnu pinjaras’ (Romeo cages) in which to throw louts accused of troubling women. These will be kept in public places so that the culprits are shamed, what with passersby able to take a peek at them.

The Muzaffarnagar district magistrate, Nikhil Chand Shukla, has further instructed police officers to earmark spots in the city where the most number of such cases are reported from. Cops will be deployed at these places and they will be ready to whisk away men found harassing girls and women.

Starting the ‘Majnu pinjara’ drive will be four teams under the supervision of the women’s police station in-charge, the Kotvali, Civil Lines and Mandi police station in-charges. Cops will be on special vigil near girls’ schools and colleges, all dressed in mufti.

When TOI asked Shukla about the cages, he said, “I asked the officers to catch the ‘Majnus’ red-handed. I don’t know about the cage part though. That may be illegal to do so. Of course, these men will be exposed to the public. Just today and yesterday, I went on rounds of several colleges, accompanied by the SSP, KB Singh, and asked all the sub-divisional magistrates to go on random checks, along with respective circle officers, of the girls’ schools and colleges in their respective areas of jurisdiction. I also asked them to be alert around haats (village marts) and markets as women often face harassment at these places. Besides, we will strictly entertain all complaints received on the helpline number 1090.”

The Muzaffarnagar administration has had to deal with a slew of harassment

cases in the recent past, one of which nearly started another full-blown riot. It wants to ensure that there is no repeat of incidents that led to the 2013 clashes, which began after reports came in from Kaval of two brothers who allegedly killed an accused charged with the molestation of their sister. Later, one of the two was lynched by a mob, setting off violence that eventually displaced more than 50,000 and killed close to 60.

If the administration is anxious, it has reasons to be. On Monday, in Charthaval town of Muzaffarnagar, some ruffians pulled out school girls from their bus when some of them resisted the advances of a group of men. Several girls were injured in the melee. The case soon took a communal colour after the miscreants, who were from a particular community, called their friends who faced off with relatives of the school girls. Four persons, two from each community, were booked and sent to jail.

On Tuesday, too, at Garhipukhta, some miscreants misbehaved with a bunch of school girls and even tried to throw acid on them when they protested.