A panchayat of the Jat community in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district has decided to restrict girls’ use of smartphones. Organised by the Jat Mahasabha in the district’s Rataur village on Friday, the panchayat also decided to not permit them to speak on the phone without being supervised by a family member, The Hindu reported.
Chief of the Jat Mahasabha Narendar Singh said the panchayat had a number of subjects on their agenda, and that the “misuse” of smartphones was one of them. Questioning the need for schoolchildren to own smartphones, he said, “Till Class 12, girls are immature; so are boys…There is a strong possibility of girls going wayward. So we decided that we take special care of girls and not give them smartphones.”
District Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar Dinesh Kumar Singh said he had directed officials in the Jansath block of the region to look into the matter and submit a report. A member of the Jat group, Santosh Verma, said locals unanimously supported the decision of the panchayat, which was attended by heads of more than 30 villages. “TV and films are showing dirty stuff that mislead our children. We are not against mobile phones, but we are trying to restrict their misuse,” he said.
The region is not new to such controversial decisions. In 2015, a village council in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur had barred women from wearing jeans and T-shirts and using mobile phones. In 2011, a khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar had said banned women from wearing jeans saying this caused incidents of sexual harassment and eloping.