Panchayat which banned mobiles goes into hiding

first_imgA Mathura village panchayat which banned women from using mobile phones in public went underground on Thursday for fear of police action.As news of the diktat broke to the outside world, leading to widespread outrage, most panchayat members of Mandora village, including Mohammad Usman and Mohammad Ghafffar, the current and former village heads, disowned the diktat.Village elders refused to speak to the media and were clearly uncomfortable when asked if they could be photographed.Alok Dubey, circle officer of the Govardhan area, said the police would not allow anyone to implement such a diktat. “We are probing the matter and will take action if any such restrictive practices are implemented,” he said.Mr Usman said the panchayat members were not against mobile phones as such but were of the firm belief that they aided criminal and unwanted activities among youngsters.“The increasing criminalisation of our youngsters and lack of employment are a matter of concern. That is what led us to decide that anyone who indulging in criminal activities should be fined,” he said.“Because of lack of education and unavailability of employment and skill training, the last two generation of youngsters of Mandora and nearby villages have turned to crime,” Mr Usman said, justifying the ban on women using mobile phones.Mr Ghaffar concurred with the village head. “The culture in cities is different from the culture here. Boys and girls have started running away from their homes and that leads to murder and violence. Look at what happened in Bulandshahr,” he said, referring to the lynching of an elderly man allegedly because a Muslim youth eloped with a Hindu girl.The village was in the news in January 2014 also, when it decided to boycott the Lok Sabha elections as the village lacks even basic infrastructure.last_img

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