UP village bans women from using mobile phones

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New Delhi: A village in Uttar Pradesh has banned women from using mobile phones in public in an attempt to restrict their contacts with men and plans hefty fines for violators, police said on Wednesday.

Village elders ruled that women found using a mobile phone outside their homes would be fined a hefty amount of Rs. 21,000. The ruling was issued on Tuesday in Madora, a mainly Muslim village in the northern state of UP.

“We have received reports about the Khap panchayat ordering the ban on women using mobile phones,” local police chief Arun Kumar Singh told AFP. “Such orders are against the constitution and we will take action.”

The council believes that mobile phones are helping unmarried women to elope and that a ban will limit their interaction with men. The council also imposed fines on people caught slaughtering cows or smuggling liquor.

“We do support their measures against illegal activities but won’t allow them to curb the freedom of women,” Singh said.

In earlier cases Khap Panchayats have issued diktats such as banning women from wearing jeans, ordering serious crimes, including the so-called ‘honour killing’ of couples who marry outside caste or religion.

Critics accuse them of acting like kangaroo courts and handing down public beatings and other punishments for perceived crimes.

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