Elopement woe leads to women banned from mobile phone use
PATNA, India (Reuters) - A village council in the eastern Indian state of Bihar has banned the use of mobile phones by women, saying the phones were "debasing the social atmosphere" by leading to elopements - a move that set off outraged protests from activists.
In addition to the ban, the Sunderbari village council in a Muslim-dominated area some 385km east of Patna, the capital of Bihar, has also imposed a fine of 10,000 rupees (S$223) if a girl is caught using a mobile phone on the streets.
Married women would have to pay 2,000 rupees (S$44.70).
"It always gives us a lot of embarrassment when someone asks who has eloped this time," said Manuwar Alam, who heads a newly-formed committee tasked with enforcing the ban, referring to queries from neighbouring villages.