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Sahariya tribal panchayat bans mobile phone use by women

Women of Sahariya tribe of 27 villages in Sheopur district have been banned from using mobile phones by their tribal panchayat as is ‘spoiling them’

bhopal Updated: Feb 15, 2018 11:22 IST
Shruti Tomar, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
saharia,tribal,mobile phone
(HT file photo)

Women of Sahariya tribe of 27 villages in Sheopur district have been banned from using mobile phones by their tribal panchayat as is was ‘spoiling’ the women.

The panchayat was held on Tuesday in Ocha village of Sheopur district, which is around 400 km from Bhopal, bordering Rajasthan.

“The panchayat has also decided to punish any woman if she uses a mobile phone. If a woman is caught with a mobile phone for the first time, she would have to pay a fine. If she is found guilty the second time, she would be ostracised from the society,” said Raswarup Adiwasi, a panch.

Adiwasi said the decision was taken for the safety of women as they don’t know how to use it and many a time it created problems for them.

“The panchs have also realised that due to use of mobile phones Sahariya girls are coming in contact with outsiders and marrying them. These outsiders are then taking advantage of our exclusive land rights. So we have decided that if a girl marries an outsider, we would end all the ties with her and her family would have to pay a hefty amount as punishment for breaking rule,” said Bais Ram Adivasi, another panch.

However, the panchayat has no objection to women talking on a mobile phone in front of male members. The panchayat also banned the inter-caste marriage and consumption of liquor.

Such panchayats are being organised for the past three years within a space of a few months to tackle the various problems which the Sahariya tribals are facing.

Sheopur collector P L Solanki said, “I came to know about it but nobody has raised any objection against the diktat. But we will try to make them understand that such a ban is wrong.”

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 11:22 IST