A village in north India has outlawed the use of cell phones in public by women because the (male) council elders say they're leading to elopements, reports Reuters. "It always gives us a lot of embarrassment when someone asks who has eloped this time," explains the head of a committee tasked with enforcing the ban in Sunderbari village. Single women will be fined about $180, and married women about $40.
"Even married women were deserting their husbands to elope with lovers," says the enforcer. "So, we decided to tackle it firmly. Mobile phones are debasing the social atmosphere." As the National explains, such laws are not unusual in northern India, and the Supreme Court has asked state governments to investigate the local councils. "These are tools of patriarchy," says an advocate for women's rights. "They feel that women will connect with whoever they want and they fear they will get boyfriends, break the caste system and all that rubbish. These are unacceptable archaic ideas." (Read more India stories.)