In a bizarre announcement, a village in Uttar Pradesh has said that women are no longer allowed to use mobile phones in public, and that they will be fined Rs 21,000 for the same. Using a mobile in public has been listed as a ‘crime’ for women in Madora village along with drinking, gambling and cow slaughter. Fines range from Rs 11,000 to Rs 2 lakh for the several ‘crimes’ listed.
Madora is a predominantly Muslim village, which is 30 km away from Mathura, and the new rule was announced by the Panchayat on Tuesday. We bet you are thinking that it is too bizarre, but wait till you read the explanation given behind the same. It is even weirder.
According to Ghaffar Khan, a Panchayat member, women do not need a phone as most of the women are uneducated in the village, and that there is no need of them using a mobile phone. However, he added that they haven’t really banned the women from using mobile phones but ‘whatever is done should be according to our tradition’.
In another bizarre justification, the police said that the village feels that such a ban will restrict girls’ interaction with men, and therefore, the number of cases of affairs and elopement will decrease.
According to media reports, senior police officer Arun Kumar Singh said –
‘Some of the villagers wanted to deal with some wrongdoings themselves so we allowed them to take steps to ensure there are no crimes… We support their measures against illegal activities but if there is anything that is against the freedom of women, then we will look into it. Such orders are against the constitution and we will take action.’
If you’re thinking that this is something new in UP, then you’re wrong. In 2014, the Panchayat of the Gujjar community in Jadwad had imposed a ban on women wearing jeans.