Gujarat village leaders claim unmarried women using mobile phones are a ‘nuisance’ to society.
A village in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat has banned single women from using mobile phones, with elders deeming the technology a “nuisance to society.”
Members of the Suraj village council in Mehsana, the premier’s home district, passed a resolution in early February outlawing the use of mobile phones for teenage girls and young women.
“Community leaders felt that just like liquor, the use of mobile phones by unmarried women was a nuisance to society,” said village head Devshi Vankar, adding that a similar ban would be announced for school-age boys soon.
He said mobile phones were distracting unmarried women from carrying out their studies and household chores in the village, which has a population of 2,000. If caught owning or speaking on a mobile phone, the violators will face a 2,100-rupee fine, according to the council, which is also offering 200 rupees to informers for tip-offs. However, they can talk on their parents’ or relatives’ phones.
The ban was imposed at a meeting originally called to discuss the community’s growing alcohol abuse problem. It comes amid a nationwide campaign by Modi to spread the use of technology in rural India.
Last year the government launched its “Digital India” initiative to help boost connectivity in India, where nearly a billion people do not have access to the Internet.