Patna: People, in general, may be quite ecstatic about celebrating the New Year that is barely ten days away but in a village in Bihar, the start of the new calendar is set to bring more restrictions on the female class.

A village court in Bihar has banned girls from attending schools in jeans or pants from the first day of the new year, blaming them for “misguiding”, women. They have also been asked not to carry mobile phones in schools.

The diktat has been issued by the Singha village council under Hatha block in northern Bihar’s Gopalganj district, which has been home to three former chief ministers of Bihar — Abdul Ghafoor (July 1973-April 1975), Lalu Prasad (March 1990-July 1997), and Rabri Devi (July 1997-March 2005).

A formal decree to this effect was passed at a meeting of the village court held over the weekend, where everyone present unanimously supported the order.

“We have been observing that the jeans, pants and mobile phones have been the prime cause behind [the] increasing incidents of eve-teasing, molestation and elopements, and so we had to take a very harsh decision in a bid to enforce discipline among girls. We also urge the guardians to cooperate us in this matter,” the local village head Krishna Chaudhary told the media yesterday. He said the girls violating the order would be denied entry to the schools.

According to Chaudhary, he has also requested guardians not to buy the offending items for the girls. “All these things were banned as they have pernicious effect on the girls — mentally and physically. They also increase the chances of their going astray,” he explained.

Authorities confirmed such a diktat had indeed been issued by the village court, but said the decision was taken with “mutual understating”. “We have been informed, the ban will be enforced within its [the village] jurisdiction, with mutual understanding and without any coercion,” the local block development officer Jitendra Kumar said.

Bihar, of late, has recorded alarming spurt in incidents of elopements and rapes. An official report stated that 449 cases of elopements were reported in the first eight months of the outgoing year with maximum cases reported in July (144), June (101) and February (91). Similarly, 1,128 incidents of rape have been reported in the first eight months of the year, indicting around 141 such cases are taking place every month. Last year, 927 incidents of rape were reported.