Members of the Thakor community in Gujarat's Banaskantha district have issued a diktat banning unmarried women from carrying mobile phones and fining parents of youngsters opting for inter-caste marriages.
The diktat was passed "unanimously" in a meeting on 14 July by elders of the community from 12 villages in the district's Dantiwada taluka, a leader from the community said on Tuesday, 16 July.
Congress MLA Ganiben Thakor said she saw nothing wrong in the move to ban mobile phones for girls. They should stay away from the technology and spend more time studying, she told reporters.
According to the diktat issued at the meeting, "Unmarried woman should not be given mobile phones. If they are caught with mobile phones, their parents will be held responsible."
Parents have been asked not to give phones to their college-going daughters so that they can "focus more on studies rather than waste time on mobile phones", another community leader said.
"“We have decided to prevent girls from using mobile phones so that they focus more on studies. The rule is valid for all college-going youth from the community as they use mobile phones to make videos and waste time. The community will offer tablets and laptops so that they can study better.”" - Suresh Thakor, community leader from Dantiwada
Other decisions taken included reducing "unnecessary" expenditure on marriage ceremonies by stopping the use of DJ, firecrackers, and elaborate processions.
"The money saved from the practice will be used for the education of community members," Suresh Thakor said.
‘Should Be Gender-Neutral’: Alpesh Thakor
Those flouting these rules have been threatened with legal action, the elders said at the meeting.
Community leaders received support from Ganiben Thakor, the MLA from Vav Taluka in Banaskantha district.
"As far as mobile phone is concerned, daughters who are unmarried should stay away from technology and spend more time studying. There is nothing wrong in this," she told reporters.
MLA Alpesh Thakor said he welcomed the decisions that curtail unnecessary expenditure incurred on marriages so that more money can be spent on education.
" “Some decisions are welcome. The decision to curtail unnecessary expenditure on marriage, DJ, etc, is good. As far as using mobile phone is concerned, I would say this should be gender-neutral. Keeping them from using mobile phone will help them in studies.”" - Alpesh Thakor
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