‘There’s a strong possibility of girls going wayward … it is our responsibility to handle them’

A panchayat of Jats in Muzaffarnagar district on Friday unanimously decided to impose restrictions on girls using smartphones.

The panchayat, organised by the Jat Mahasabha in Rataur village of the Jansath block, also decided not to allow girls to talk on a phone without a family member watching over them. The meeting was attended by heads of over 30 villages.

Narendar Singh, head of the Jat Mahasabha, told The Hindu on the phone that smartphones were creating trouble for families in villages, and it was important to control their “misuse”. “There were several items on our agenda. During the panchayat, many people said girls go to school, talk to people on phone and create trouble. Till Standard XII, girls are immature; so are boys. It is our responsibility to handle them. There is a strong possibility of girls going wayward. So we decided that we take special care of girls and not give them smartphones …,” he said.

‘To stop misuse’

“What is the point of students keeping phones and, that too, smartphones? If you are working, you need one, but why do you need a big phone when all you have to do is go to school,” he asked, clarifying that the aim of the panchayat was not to restrict, but stop, the misuse of smartphones.

“Every day, we read in newspapers how mobile phones create trouble and how girls and boys end up doing things which are bad for society and the honour of the family and village,” he said.

Santosh Verma, member of the Mahasabha, said the residents of the region unanimously backed the decision. “TV and films are showing dirty stuff which misleads our children. We are not against mobile phones but we are trying to restrict their misuse,” he said.

Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Singh said he had asked officials in Jansath to probe the matter and send a report.

This is not the first time such a controversial decision has been taken by the residents of western Uttar Pradesh.

A village council in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur banned women from wearing jeans and T-shirts and using mobile phones in 2015. A khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar in 2011 banned women from wearing jeans, saying it led to incidents of eve-teasing and eloping.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-smartphones-for-girls-rules-muzaffarnagar-jat-panchayat/article8774016.ece