Unmarried women have been banned from using mobile phones in an Indian village – to stop them arranging forbidden marriages that are often punishable by death.
Lank village council, in northern India, decided on Tuesday that unmarried men can use mobile phones, but only under parental supervision.
Local women’s rights groups criticised the measure as backwards and unfair.
The council fears that young men and women are secretly arranging marriages forbidden under Hindu customs, such as marrying someone from the same clan – an act that can provoke extreme community punishments, including honour killings.
Police say 34 couples eloped last month in Muzaffarnagar district, where Lank is located in Uttar Pradesh state. The elopements led to eight honour killings.