A panchayat organised by Jats in Uttar Pradesh has issued a collective decision to restrict mobile phone use by girls, saying they would not be allowed to use cellphones without parental supervision.
"Smartphones are creating trouble for families and it's important to control their misuse. There is a strong possibility of girls going wayward. So we decided that we take special care of girls and not give them smartphones," Jat Mahasabha head Narendar Singh was quoted by the Hindu as saying.
Heads of over 30 villages participated in the meeting organised by the Jat Mahasabha in the Rataur village of the Jansath block, after complaints of girls "misusing" cellphones were reportedly received from their parents.
"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," Mahasabha member Santosh Verma said.
A probe has been launched into the panchayat's decision, and its report will be submitted to Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Singh.
Western Uttar Pradesh has seen similar decisions in the past. For instance, women were banned from wearing jeans and T-shirts and using mobile phones in 2015 after a decision was taken at the village council in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. Citing an increase in eve-teasing and eloping, Muzaffarnagar's khap panchayat had similarly banned women from wearing jeans in 2011.