Tribal mahapanchayat bans mobile phones for women in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur

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panchayat comprising of Saharia tribals from around 27 villages in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district has banned the use of mobile phones for women and girls. The decision according to the panchayat members is one of the many steps that have been recently taken to reform the society.

The mahapanchayat comprising of Saharias of 27 villages was held in Ochha village and it was decided to ban the use of mobile phones for women and girls. The mahapanchayat also decided to impose a fine on first time women and girl child violators and declared that those who violate the diktat for the second time would be shown the door from the community.

Mobile phones are having a bad impact on women and girls hence the decision has been taken. Those who don’t listen to the panchayat order will be fined but second-time offenders will not be allowed to remain part of our closely knit community,” Ram Swarup Advasi, one of the sarpanchs of the 27 village mahapanchayat said.

“The mahapanchayat met three times in the past one month and imposed a ban on consuming liquor, also discussions were held on how to increase awareness about the need for education. This is the third decision taken by the community leaders and is aimed at reforming pour society,” Ram Swarup added.

Women and girls of the community have so far not openly reacted to the panchayat’s diktat but no one is happy with the decision. “Mobile phone is also a symbol of empowerment and the men are snatching this from us as they are not sure about themselves,” a Saharia tribal girl who owns a mobile phone said on condition of anonymity.

The womens commission has also taken note of diktat and has promised action. “This is shameful. The state womens commission has been apprised of the panchayat’s decision and suitable action would be initiated soon,” Saroj Tomar member of the state womens commission.