Rajya Sabha MP Rajpal Singh Saini now finds himself grabbing national headlines for not the best of reasons. Addressing workers yesterday, Saini said that children, especially girls should not be given mobile phones. “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 these kids have a mobile, take them away. What are they missing anyway? What are the girls missing without mobile,” he said. He went on to add that mobile phones were distracting and useless. Saini is known to clarify later that he meant students of a certain age should not be given mobile phones. “What I am saying is that students should not be given mobile phones… It is the age to study, and mobile phones are a distraction,” he said.
Earlier, however, Saini shared his view with a man distraught after his daughter eloped. He said that the mobile phone was responsible for his daughter’s move. Saini went on to add, “Our mothers, sisters… did they die if there were no mobiles during their time.”
Right to education, employment, and now mobile phones? (Image Credit: Getty Images
The mobile phone is emerging as the preferred device for communication today, and at such a time, Saini’s comments are controversial. Changing lifestyles, modern outlook, education among other factors have led to women becoming self-reliant and owning a mobile phone today is not a status barometer, anymore – it is a necessity now.
By condemning its use altogether, the MP is clearly not earning himself any brownie points with the masses and while Saini will have to do some tough explaining on his views, Twitter is abuzz with reactions from everyone. @smritiirani tweeted, “BSP MP thinks girls should not be given mobile phones. Does he know his party president is a woman???”, @ishaanspeaks tweeted, “BSP MP Rajpal Singh:”Don't give mobile phones to girls”. So, an MP calls for curtailing basic civil liberties of women – isn't that a crime?”, @puneetsays tweeted, “BSP MP says – Women don't need mobile phones as they get distracted. Am wondering if Mayawati owns a Mobile.”
This clearly isn't the first time that women have been condemned from using phones. In July, this year a village panchayat in Bagpat district of Uttar Pradesh not only banned love marriages, but also disallowed women below 40 years of age from going out for shopping and girls from using mobile phones.