Diktat in R'than: Girls can't use mobile

All-caste meet bans use of scarf for covering face

A community panchayat in a village in Dausa district has banned girls from using mobile phones and also forbid them from covering their faces with a scarf when going out.

The decision was taken in an all-caste meeting held on Wednesday by the elders of Bhandarej.

The decision followed an incident when a girl went missing from the village.
Villagers have been demanding that police find the girl, who is untraceable.

The panchayat called a meeting of the elders and the decision was unanimous. However they have not announced any punishment for the violators of their decision.

The community panchayat also handed out a three-day ultimatum to police to find the girl, who they belive might have eloped with a boy, a class 10 dropout from another caste.
Girls in Rajasthan generally cover their faces with a scarf while driving two wheelers or going out to save themselves from sun burn and dust.

However the elders believe girls do this to hide their identity and which allows them to do ‘mischief’.

Recently Jaipur police have also issued directives against girls from covering their faces as they said many criminals are aping the move to camouflage their identity.

However the diktat has come in for serious criticism from Women’s rights groups.
Kavita Srivastava, general secretary of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan has demanded action against the panchayat.

She said the government should initiate action against the panchayat for issuing an illegal order.

She said only girls were being singled out.

We live in a democratic society and nobody has the right to impose its will on a section of society, she added.

Srivastava said a mobile phone is a great help for women in times of a crisis situation.
Chairperson of the Rajasthan state women’s commission Laad Kumari Jain said such diktats are not only blatantly illegal but reek of a Talibani streak in the society. She said the commission will take appropriate action after enquiry.  

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