Patna: The Bihar State Women’s Commission (SWC) has suggested banning the use of cell phones in schools till Grade 12 to put a check on incidents of sexual assaults. The suggestion comes in the light of soaring rape cases in the state.

The SWC authorities said they were writing to all schools to put a blanket ban on use of cell phones in schools with immediate effect, saying they were misleading the young minds.

“Cell phones have increased the ‘maturity level’ of children who are now watching those things on mobile surely not meant for them. This has adversely impacted the social atmosphere,” Dr Usha Vidyathi, SWC member, told the media on Sunday.

According to her, as long as the culture of joint family was alive, everyone in the family kept a close watch on the children but with disintegration of the joint family system, the children have been handed cell phones to keep them in contact.

“Sadly, this has not shown desired results. Instead, the children have easy access to porn movies or video clips on the smart phones connected to the internet. This has adversely impacted the society,” she rued. The SWC has also suggested trying minor children caught in rape cases in the general courts, and not in juvenile ones.

The suggestion to ban use of cell phones comes in the backdrop of many village councils in Bihar already issuing such orders. Recently, a village council in Phulwaria in Gopalgnaj district imposed a blanket ban on use of cell phones for school and college girls. Incidentally, Phulwaria is the native village of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad.

Reports said the village council took the decision, alarmed at the rising incidents of eve-teasing, molestation, elopements and rapes.

Last year, a village council in Madhubani district had banned the use of cell phones for girls and boys in a bid to check the growing incidents of elopement.