KOLKATA: Heads of a minority-dominated village in Murshidabad district issued a fatwa imposing a ban on a series of activities which include watching television, playing carrom, purchasing lottery, and listening to music using cellphones and computers.
The fatwa, under the banner of a social reforms committee, also prescribed monetary penalty ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 7,000 and sit-up by holding ears if anyone is found violating the dictate.
The bizarre incident took place at Adwaita Nagar village, with a population of around 12,000, located along the Bengal-Jharkhand border area in Raghunathganj sub-division.
"We decided to impose a ban on a series of activities to stop the young generation from adopting methods which will lead to their moral and cultural degradation. We cannot allow them to listen to music and watch movies and serials which do not fit our religious culture," said Azharul Sheikh, the secretary of the Adwaita Nagar Social Reforms Committee.
The committee issued the fatwa on August 9 and posters listing the banned activities were put up in every corner of the villages warning the local people of the consequences if they violate the dictate.
The fatwa mentions Rs 1,000 fine if anyone is found watching television and using mobile phones or computers to listen to music. "If anyone is caught playing carom, he will have to pay Rs 500 and in case of purchasing lottery, the penalty amount will be Rs 2,000. There are provisions of rewarding the informers. If anyone’s information helps us to catch an offender, he will be given Rs 1,000 to Rs 200 as a reward, depending on the nature of offence mentioned in the instructions," said Azharul.
The fatwa also prescribes Rs 7,000 penalty for anyone who will be found selling liquor. Other than the penalty, the dictate said the offender’s head would he shaved before he would be paraded in the village. The same amount of penalty will he charges from those who will sell the lottery and run a gambling racket. If a villager is caught consuming alcohol, he will not only pay Rs 2,000 as a penalty but also give sit-up for 10 times while holding his ears.
The local Trinamool Congress-dominated Vasaipaikar panchayat pradhan Abdur Rauf found nothing wrong in the fatwa. "Banning liquor is a good decision. Besides, I welcome the decision to ban carom and songs using mobile phones because the youths are getting addicted to it," he explained.
The block development officer of Shamsherganj block, Joydeep Chakrabarty, said if anyone takes law in his hand, lawful action will be taken against him.