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Indian village bans girls from using mobile phones

In western India, a village council bans girls from using personal mobile phones and wearing scarves to prevent the girls from contacting boys and from hiding their identities

AFP , Thursday 1 Nov 2012
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A village council in western India has banned girls from using personal mobile phones to stop them from contacting boys whenever they wish, media reports said on Thursday.

The council or "panchayat" in the Dausa district of Rajasthan state also insisted that girls stop wearing scarves because that helped them hide their identities, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency said.

"Girls using mobile phones are easily connected and approachable and this freedom may create unnecessary problems for her family," village elder Durga Lal was quoted as saying.

"Considering this fact, it was the common opinion in the meeting that girls should be prohibited from using personal mobile phones and also scarves."

The restrictions were imposed after a girl eloped with her boyfriend from another caste last week.

Local police superintendent S. N. Khinchi told PTI that nobody had complained so far against the decisions of the council.

Panchayats often comprise an unelected group of elders, who are seen as the social and moral arbiters of village life.

Although their rulings carry no legal weight, they can be highly influential and have been blamed for numerous abuses, such as sanctioning "honour killings" of women whose actions are deemed to have brought shame on their family.

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