The Karnataka tourism ministry is taking definitive action against harassment of women in public places. After several complaints from women about men staring at them at tourist sites across the state, the ministry is considering putting up billboards which would ask men not to stare. They will also train people who will be called tourist mitras, who will be trained on ways to stop men from making lecherous overtures.

The ministry is yet to clarify what exactly the tourist mitras will do to curb lechers, nor has it decided on the content of the messages that will be put on the billboards. Officials are, however, clear that they wouldn’t want the mitras to turn into something like an anti-Romeo squad.

“I would like the whole message to be a more positive one rather than something that sounds very harsh as most men won’t take it lightly,” said a former official from the tourism ministry.

These billboards will be put up near waterfalls, where men have been making women — who plunge into these water bodies — uncomfortable by unabashedly staring at them.

“We want to make the experience safe and decent for women who travel all the way to enjoy these locations,” said an official from the tourism ministry. He added that many women travel alone these days. “We welcome the trend. Hence, the tourism ministry wants to make every location safer for single women as well.”

Karnataka is one of the top tourist destinations in India, with its scenic hills and UNESCO World Heritage sites like Hampi and Pattadakal.

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Picture Credit: Indian Women Blog