In what may be a rather weird development, a village has barred all single women from having a mobile phone of their own or even using it at all.
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.
Speaking with AFP, the village head, Devshi Vankar, said: “Community leaders felt that just like liquor, the use of mobile phones by unmarried women was a nuisance to society.” He added 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 ($30) 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.