LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Women Commission member Meena Kumari has kicked up a row by reportedly appealing parents not to give mobile phones to minor girls to prevent cases of crime, like elopement and rape.
The state women panel member has said that girls when given mobile phones often talk with boys and then elope with them.
While asking parents to be vigilant about with whom their daughters are seeing, she appealed them not to give mobile phones to girls and if cell-phones are at all given to them, the girls should be under continous watch of parents and family members.
When asked by journalists about rising rape cases and other crimes against women, she blamed mothers for what is happening with their daughters. "First of all mothers should keep close watch on daughters, as it was owing to their negliegence that all such things are happening with girls," the state women panel member said on Wednesday.
While maintaining that authorities are taking stern steps to prevent rising cases of crime against women, Kumari said "Besides the system, the society, particularly families should also keep an eye on their daughters, particularly with whom they are moving outside and with which boy they are sitting. Don't give mobile phones to daughters as they talk with boys using cell-phones and elope with them later," she reportedly said.
However, the state women's commission has distanced itself from Kumari's statement. Vice President of the Commission Anju Chaudhary termed Kumari's statement as "inappropriate", saying depriving girls of mobile phones is not a solution to stop sexual violence against them. "Instead of saying that mobile phones shouldn't be given to girls, we should be teaching them not to chat with strangers and educate them on the safe use of mobile phones," Chaudhary said.
However, with her reported statements triggering controversy, a concerned Meena said thatshe was misquoted. "Girls in villages don't know how to prudently use mobile phones. Further smartphones use is also promoting inappropriate content," he said.
"On a daily basis, I hear complaints of at least 20 women and 5-6 cases are related to friendships on phones and its consequences," she added.