LUCKNOW, India — A northern Indian village has banned unmarried women from using cell phones for fear they will arrange forbidden marriages that are often punished by death, a local official said Wednesday.
The Lank village council decided unmarried boys could use mobile phones, but only under parental supervision, council member Satish Tyagi said. Local women’s rights group criticized the measure as backward and unfair.
Marriages between members of the same clan are forbidden under Hindu custom in some parts of north India, where unions are traditionally arranged by families. In conservative rural areas, families sometimes mete out extreme punishments, including so-called honor killings, for those who violate marriage taboos. In some cases, village councils themselves have ordered the punishments, though police often intervene to stop them.
The Lank village council feared young men and women were secretly calling one another to arrange forbidden elopements.
Part of me laughs, but mostly I’m horrified, of course. Marriage is tough enough without all those ridiculously backward rules one finds in ridiculously backward societies. Shame on these people.by