The women in Uttar Pradesh have been banned from using mobile phones, in public, by a village in the State.
This move, comes in an attempt to restrict their contacts with men and plans huge fines for violators of the rules. The elderly people of the village passed a rule that if any women were found using a mobile phone, outside their homes, would be fined Rs 21,000 each, a sum that would take most of the rural individuals several months to earn. A Muslim village in the conservative northern State of Uttar Pradesh, named as Madora, has issued the ruling.
Local police chief Arun Kumar Singh, referring to the informal village councils known as “Khap Panchayats”, said “We have received reports about the Khap ordering the ban on women using mobile phones.” “Such orders are against the Constitution and we will take action.” The council believes that mobile phones are helping unmarried women to elope and such a ban will limit their interaction with men.
The village councils also imposed fines on individuals caught slaughtering cows, which is illegal in most of the Indian States, or smuggling liquor.
Singh said, “We do support their measures against illegal activities but won’t allow them to curb the freedom of women.” The male village elders, mostly run the Khap Panchyats. Though, it is considered illegal, they have mahor influence in rural North India. The Khap Panchyats are mainly known for issuing diktats, aimed at upholding the socially conservative traditions, that have long held sway and resisting modernization, such as banning women from wearing jeans.
These Khap Panchayats have also been blamed for ordering serious crimes, including “honor-killing” of couples, who marry outside caste or religion. However, the critics accuse them of acting like Kangaroo courts, of giving public beatings and other punishments for perceived crimes.