Members of the Suraj village Council in Mehsana, India, have banned the use of mobile phones for teenage girls and young women, calling it a “nuisance to society.”
A resolution that imposed the ban was passed early February, 2016, in a meeting organized to discuss the community’s growing alcohol abuse problem.
Suraj’s village head, Devshi Vankar, told AFP the consensus of the community leaders that the use of mobile phones by unmarried women was a nuisance to society just like liquor, adding that similar ban would soon be imposed on school-age boys.
Vankar said violators will face a 2,100 rupees ($31) fine and 200 ($3) rupees as reward to informers for providing tip-offs. He, however, added that unmarried women in the community can use their parents’ or relatives’ phones to call and will not be breaching the law.
Another village head, Raikarnji Thakor, said mobile phones are distractions to women and can break families and ruin relationships. He added that young girls are misguided by it and that the ban was “the villagers’ idea.”
This ban comes during a nationwide campaign by Indian Prime Minster, Narendra Modi, to spread the use of technology in rural India with the government’s “Digital India” initiative. The government sometime last year launched this initiative to boost connectivity in India, where nearly a billion people do not have access to the internet.
Suraj is a village in Indian Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat with a population of 2,000 inhabitants. Gujarat, according to The Telegraph, has officially been a dry state since 1961, but the home-brewing and consumption of “country liquor” – or spirits – is rife, particularly among men.
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