AHMEDABAD: A village in Mehsana district of Gujarat has banned minor girls from using or owning mobile phones claiming that the gadget distracts them from studies.
The ban was implemented recently by the panchayat of Suraj village in Kadi taluka of Mehsana. A fine of Rs 2100 will be imposed on minor girls found using or owning mobile phones. They will only be allowed to use the mobile phones of their parents inside the house.
According to village sarpanch Devshi Vankar, the decision was taken unanimously by the panchayat as the majority of villagers felt that mobile phones are creating problems for girls and their parents.
The village panchayat also saw cell phones as a tool used by lovestruck youngsters to elope from homes. "All the villagers have agreed to ban mobile phones for school girls who are under 18 years. Members of all the communities, be it Dalit, Patel, Thakor or Rabari, have agreed on it. We have imposed a fine of Rs 2100 on those who violate this rule," said Vankar.
"Girls are allowed to use mobile phone of their parents inside their house and under their supervision. But they cannot move around in the village carrying mobiles," said Vankar.
The ban is only limited to school girls and women attending college have been spared by the panchayat. "College girls are mature enough to differentiate between good and bad. Further, they also need mobile phone to stay connected with their parents as colleges are located in nearby cities not in our village," Vankar said. Justifying the ban for minor girls, he stated that the rule was necessary to 'save' girls from this technology.
"Everyone knows what happens in today's world due to mobile phones. This is Kalyug. This is an era of Whatsapp, where people secretly talk with each other. We have to save girls from those who acquire their number and harass them or try to lure these innocent girls," Vankar said.
"We have also found that school girls are getting distracted due to mobile phones, as they play games on it and do not concentrate on studies. Their poor parents have to bear extra burden of recharging these mobile phones," added Vankar.
Former sarpanch Ramaji Thakor claimed that incidents of minor girls eloping with boys have increased in recent times, mainly due to mobile phones. "I have been witness to several such incidents in recent times. During the panchayat meet recently, villagers expressed concern about how mobiles are being used by boys to contact girls. Due to such facility, they plan to elope together," Thakor said.
"Thus, all the villagers unanimously came to a conclusion that minor girls should be barred from using mobile phones," he added.