Haryana vil­lage panchayat bars girls from us­ing mo­biles, wear­ing jeans

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTPUNJAB&HARYANA - HT Cor­re­spon­dent


ROHTAK: A vil­lage panchayat in Haryana’s Sonepat district has barred girls from us­ing mo­bile phones and wear­ing jeans “as it makes them elope with boys”.

Prem Singh, the sarpanch of Ishapur Kheri vil­lage—in the heart of kha­p­land—had or­dered this dik­tat around a cou­ple of months ago dur­ing a panchayat, but has got ac­tive now to en­sure that the ban is im­ple­mented.

The sarpanch said three col­lege-go­ing girls from the vil­lage had eloped with boys two years ago against their fam­ily’s wishes, bring­ing shame to the en­tire vil­lage. It was found that those three girls used to keep mo­bile phones and wear mod­ern clothes, he said.

“When they (girls) use mo­bile phones, they get in touch with boys and make plans to run away with them. By wear­ing mod­ern clothes like jeans, they at­tract un­nec­es­sary at­ten­tion,” Singh said, while talk­ing to HT.

The sarpanch said he has two daugh­ters, both of whom are mar­ried. He also has a grand­daugh­ter in Class 9, who is only al­lowed to use a sim­ple phone for call­ing fa­cil­ity un­der her par­ents’ guid­ance.

The de­ci­sion of the sarpanch has been ap­pre­ci­ated by many vil­lagers.

“Af­ter what hap­pened in the vil­lage, it is a good step. We have a daugh­ter in Class 10, but we have not given her mo­bile phone,” said Suren­der Singh, a panch in the vil­lage who works in gov­ern­ment ser­vice.

Ishapur Kheri vil­lage has a pop­u­la­tion of over 5,000.

How­ever, Divyam Malik, 23, whose el­der sis­ter from the vil­lage has gone to study in the US, has slammed the panchayat or­der. “We were not even aware of this dik­tat un­til re­cently when the sarpanch came here to in­ter­act with our fam­ily. Of course, we are not go­ing to fol­low it. To­day, ev­ery­thing hap­pens on the in­ter­net. How can we ex­pect girls not to use it?” he asked.

An­other panchayat mem­ber in the vil­lage, Anil Singh, said he had quit the panchayat af­ter the sarpanch or­dered this dik­tat. “I told him he is re­gres­sive. But he con­tin­ues with his agenda,” he said.

An­nounc­ing such dik­tats has been com­mon in this part of Haryana that has in­flu­ence of khap pan­chay­ats, who have in the past blamed jeans and chowmein for in­ci­dents of rape.

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