NEW DELHI: A panchayat in India banned girls from using mobile phones and wearing jeans and t-shirts, Indian media reported. The incident happened in Fatehgarhi village in Khair tehsil of Aligarh where the panchayat also decided to impose fines for consumption of liquor or gambling. Indian media quoting a local council member confirmed the incident who said 200 people had gathered at the panchayat. However, the punishment for the violating girls is yet to be decided, reported Indian media. A village in Gujarat has reportedly banned women from using or possessing mobile phones – with the threat of fines for those caught in the act. As of 12 February, women in Suraj village face fines of Rs 2,100, around £21.60, for breaking the new rules, while informers can receive a reward of Rs 200 (£2). The average daily wage in India is Rs 193 (£2), although 250 million people live below the poverty line earning just Rs 86 (90p) per day.
village head Devshi Vankar said: “Why do girls need cell phone? Internet is a waste of time and money for a middle-class community like us. “Girls should better utilise their time for study and other works.” Mr Vankar also said the “entire population of 2,500” in the village “welcomed the decision” issued by the panchayat, or local self-government. The only exception to the ban is made if a relative wants to talk to a woman, in which case she is permitted to use her parent’s phone. It is believed the new rule was created as part of a drive to fight alcoholism mainly aimed at men in the village. Village elders felt the use of mobile phones by unmarried women created problems in society similar to those caused by the abuse of alcohol by men. Raikarnji Thakor, a community leader from north Gujarat, said: “Alcohol consumption by men and cell phone use by women creates a lot of disturbance in society.