Indian Village Bans Cell Phones for Unwed Women

By Staff | November 24, 2010 | 5:40 AM EST

Lucknow, India (AP) - A northern Indian village has banned unmarried women from using cell phones for fear they will arrange forbidden marriages often punishable by death.

Satish Tyagi of the Lank village council says it was decided Wednesday that unmarried boys, however, can use mobile phones, but only under parental supervision.

Local women's rights group criticized the measure as backward and unfair.

Tyagi says the council fears 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 like honor killings.

Police say 34 couples eloped last month in Muzaffarnagar district, where Lank is located in Uttar Pradesh state. The elopements led to eight honor killings.