If any young, unmarried woman is caught using or possessing a mobile phone, her parents will be held responsible.
Members of Gujarat’s Thakor community have issued a diktat in 12 villages of Banaskantha district, banning inter-caste marriages. They have also banned young, unmarried women from carrying mobile phones, and a Congress MLA and prominent leader of the community has upheld the move.
About 800 community elders adopted the resolution “unanimously” after a meeting was held in this regard on July 14. They also decided to fine parents of those who marry outside their caste or community.
As per a report by The Indian Express, the community elders decided on a fine amount of Rs 1.5 lakh for the family of any Thakor girl who marries a boy from a different community. In case, a Thakor community boy commits the same “offence”, his family would be fined Rs 2 lakh.
Speaking to the media, a leader of the community also mentioned that, if any young, unmarried woman was caught using or possessing a mobile phone, her parents would be held responsible.
Geniben Thakor, a Congress MLA who represents Vav constituency, backed the move and said it would ensure that young women spent more time studying and less time on technology and gadgets.
Further justifying the call to ban mobile phones only for girls, she said it would “automatically” curb the usage of the devices by boys as well. “Since girls are easily controlled because they stay with parents, it is right to ban (mobile phone use among) girls.”
However, Suresh Thakor, a community leader from Dantiwada, said that the young girls would be provided with tablets and laptops instead to help with their studies.
He added: “The rule is valid for all college-going youth from the community as they use mobile phones to make videos and waste time.”
A slew of other decisions introduced to monitor social conduct of the community members includes curbing “unnecessary” expenses incurred on weddings by hiring DJs, firecrackers, and fancy processions. The money saved thus would be used to educate more community members.
Also, those who are caught flouting these rules may face legal action.
MLA Alpesh Thakor, who will be joining the Bharatiya Janata Party soon, said he welcomed the move to cut expenses on weddings to promote education. But, according to him, the ban on mobile phone use should have been “gender-neutral”.
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