Muslim panchayat bans cell-phone use by girls

Jaipur, Jan 10 (IANS) After the khaps in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, a Muslim community panchayat in Rajasthan Thursday banned girls from using cell-phones and also from dancing and singing at weddings, ostensibly in an effort to prevent incidents like Delhi gang-rape.

Boys and girls have also been prohibited from marrying someone against the wishes of their families or someone from a different community, panchayat members said Thursday.

The restrictions have been imposed on the Muslim community members at Salumbar town in Udaipur district, some 400 km from Jaipur, by the Anjuman Muslim Panchayat, a minority community council.

The community panchayats called khaps in Haryana's Rohtak and Jind districts and western Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar districts had imposed similar restrictions on young girls and married women last year.

"We have decided to ban the girls from carrying and using cell phones. The decision was taken with a view that cell phones are spoiling girls," panchayat secretary Habibur Rahman told reporters.

He said that a slew of measures has been taken to ensure safety of girls belonging to the community in the area.

"The girls would not be allowed to dance and sing during wedding functions. A couple cannot get married against the wishes of their family members," said the panchayat secretary.

He added that punitive action will be taken against girls who are found ignoring the panchayat edicts.

"If a couple runs away from house to get married, they will be ostracised and a cash fine of Rs.51,000 will be imposed on them. Fine of Rs.51,000 has also been decided for those who marry someone from a different community," said the secretary.

He added that panchayat decisions have been communicated to all members of the community in the town.

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