World News‎ > ‎

Caste council bans jeans, mobile phones for girls in northern India

posted 18 Jan 2011, 03:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Jan 2011, 03:56 ]

A self-styled caste council known as 'Khap' in India's northern Uttar Pradesh, bans girls from wearing jeans and using mobile phones. In another development, Krishna Tirath, Women Development Minister, slammed the diktats as unconstitutional.

BHENSWAL, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (JANUARY 17, 2011) ANI - A 'khap' or self-styled caste council in Bhenswal village of Muzaffarnagar district of India's northern Uttar Pradesh, has given orders to ban girls from wearing jeans and using mobile phones, as they claim it invites unwanted attention for girls.

The Battisa Khap Council head, Baba Sitaram, led the hearing on Monday (January 17).

The diktats from the council came as the members claimed that incidents of eloping or eve-teasing have increased in the region.

The members blamed 'objectionable clothes' for such incidents.

Baba Sitaram said that a team of women had been created to enforce the new orders.

"The girls who wear jeans and keep mobile phones, we have this meeting to address this issue. This outfit is against our culture; we will not allow it to happen.

(Q. What steps would be taken to curb all this?)

We have formed an all-woman team to curb this and would make the girls understand this issue. And we would also try to make them understand," he said.

He further said that in case a girl is found flouting the new diktats, she would be given a warning and if despite that she continues the 'objectionable behaviour', then she would not be allowed to go out from her house.

But Ichha, a college student, said such diktats are only for village women to follow while the girls in the city do not have any such rules.

"Nowadays it is a modern society and who can stop it? People like us cannot stop it. We can only keep bounds on ourselves. But we cannot bind people in the cities. Girls work there in fields like hotel management and they have to wear skirts, and we should stop them also, and even airhostesses also wear mini-skirts and thus they should be asked to wear sarees or suits (Ethnic attire). In every field, wearing 'suit-salwar' (ethnic ensemble) is not possible," said Ichha.

Meanwhile, while interacting with the media at the sidelines of a conference in national capital New Delhi on Tuesday (January 18), Krishna Tirath, federal Minister of Women and Child Development, slammed the diktats and said they are not in consonance with the Constitution of the country.

"I think our constitution has given full freedom to everyone for eating, living and doing anything he wants. So according to our Constitution, this is totally unacceptable. We are totally independent and we have the freedom, whether it is a girl, woman or any male, and whatever we want to wear, we would wear that," said Tirath.

Despite the law, such incidents of curbing women's freedom are commonplace, especially in the remote villages states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.