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Monday, 22 February 2016 - 11:57
Indian Village Bans Girls From Using Mobile Phones In Flirting Crackdown
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“Young girls get misguided, it can break families and ruin relationships,” warned Raikarnji Thakor, the community leader of the Indian village of Suraj.

Unmarried women have been banned from using mobile phones by the elders of an Indian village who fear that flirtatious texting and endless phone calls could lead to a breakdown of society.

Teenage girls and young women who are caught owning or even speaking on mobile phones in Suraj, Gujarat will face a 2,100 rupee (£20) fine. Informers who catch them in the act will be financially rewarded.

Use of smartphones across India has shot up in recent years, with more than 200 million users expected by the end of 2016, surpassing the US.

The freedom afforded to teenagers to swap messages, photographs and videos with members of the opposite sex using services such as WhatsApp has caused concern in highly conservative, rural places such as Suraj.

There were also worries among the villagers over the cost of their daughters’ mobile internet bills.

“Why do girls need cell phones? Internet is a waste of time and money for a middle-class community like us,” said Devshi Vankar, Suraj’s sarpanch, or village head. “Girls should utilize their time for study and other works.”

It comes in the week that Mr Modi has been touring farming communities with promises to expand his “Digital India” drive for greater internet connectivity to rural areas across the country.

The mobile ban was introduced at a village meeting originally called to discuss the community’s growing alcohol abuse problem.

Gujarat has officially been a dry state since 1961, but the home-brewing and consumption of “country liquor” - or spirits - is rife, particularly among men.

The meeting then turned to other social problems, and the decision was taken to bring in the mobile phone diktat from February 12, foreign media reports.

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