India protest against sexual harassment
Indian protesters belonging to the Bangalore Bus Passengers Forum hold placards against the sexual harassment of women passengers Getty

Indian Police have reportedly sent text messages to previously accused sex offenders warning them to behave during the New Year's Eve celebrations. Up to 600,000 men are believed to have received the messages, having previously been charged with sexual harassment.

The text messages warned the men to be on their best behaviour during the festivities, and alerted them that they were being watched and that their phones were being monitored. The message was sent on 31 December to "eve teasers", which is the term used in India for sexual harassers.

The text message from police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, read: "You and your phone are still under observation. Hope your conduct is upright now. We wish you a Happy New Year."

Up to 500,000 women who have previously complained about sexual harassment will also be sent messages to assure them that the police are there to assist them if they need it. Senior police officer Navniet Sekera, told Al Jazeera that women in India were not encouraged to approach the police and that it was "taboo for women to raise voices against sexual harassment". However, he noted that it was time to help women come forward.

Sekera said: "The message to eve-teasers, or pesky callers, is a reminder that the police have their record. It is meant as a deterrent. We are trying to tell them that any attempt to trouble women and create mischief will prompt strict action."

According to the Times of India, a separate version of the text message reads: "Happy New Year, but beware, your number and information is saved with us. An attempt to trouble any female again will draw legal action."

Meanwhile, the text message to sex offence victims reportedly said: "Happy New Year. You are one of our dear citizen and we will always be there to help you."