The Rajasthan Women’s Commission has initiated an inquiry after the Baldiyapura village panchayat allegedly forbade girls from wearing jeans and using mobile phones, PTI reported on Monday. “We have taken cognisance of the [media] reports and asked the Dholpur district collector to get the matter inquired,” RWC Chairperson Suman Sharma told the news agency.
The sermon was allegedly issued on Saturday when members of the Kushwah community held a panchayat meeting to discuss social reforms. They issued the ban on girls using mobile phones and wearing jeans on the grounds that western culture was adversely affecting their dignity, and that such a decision would curb crime against women.
“Good decisions were made by the panchayat to eradicate social evils,” Kanasil Hariom Singh Parmar, the panchayat sarpanch, told Hindustan Times. “Incidents of rape and molestation are on the rise as women wear attractive clothes.”
Besides, the panchayat members are believed to have also introduced prohibition on liquor, betting and tobacco. While those found consuming alcohol will have to pay a penalty of Rs 1,100, those who inform the panchayat about the sale and consumption of alcohol will be given Rs 500 in cash as a reward. They also decided to approach the panchayat head and not the police in case of any dispute, reported India Today.
However, the Rajasthan Women’s Commission chief said they had yet to find any evidence that such a ban had been imposed on girls. “No one from the village is speaking openly about the deliberations of the panchayat,” she said, adding that the sermon was “dictatorial”.
The acting station house officer of the Kaurali Police Station in Dholpur, Gambhir Singh, told PTI that the police had yet to confirm the ban. Additional District Collector Vinod Kumar Meena also said they had yet to receive any complaint. “We will consider legal action against them [panchayat members] after getting a complaint,” Meena told Hindustan Times.