Girls should be banned from owning mobile phones to stop them eloping, an Indian MP has said.
His comments come amid growing fears of “talibanization” in parts of Northern India, where social conservatism in both Hindu and Muslim communities has been blamed for honor killings, kidnappings to enforce child marriages, and a rash of controversial fatwas and village council rulings. Earlier this month a feudal leader said child marriage should be encouraged to halt an increase in rapes.
In a televised speech in Muzzafarnagar, Rajpal Singh Saini told his audience of a father who had sought his help when his daughter eloped.
“I asked him if he had given a mobile phone to his daughter. The person said yes,” he said.
“Don’t give mobile phones to children, especially girls. I say this at all the places where I make my speeches. And if any of those kids have a mobile, take it away. What are they missing anyway? Our mothers, sisters, did they die without mobiles during their time?” he asked.
The MP, who serves in India’s upper house, later denied his televised remarks and said they had been misinterpreted by his opponents.