Karnataka panel’s brazen recommendation: Ban phones to curb rape cases

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Banning phones will not bring crime rate down.
After blaming rape on women's style of dressing, women's late night outing, now the onus of the crime has been shifted to mobile phones. A Karnataka Legislature committee stoked controversy after proposing that the state government should put a ban on mobile phones in schools and colleges to curb incidents like rape in the city. The committee blamed mobile phones for an unprecedented rise in the number of rape and molestation cases.

"Karnataka government should direct the Education Department to impose a compulsory ban on students in schools and colleges bringing mobile phones," the Legislature Committee on Women and Child Welfare said.

Banning phones is not a solution

Defending the panel's controversial findings and recommendations, Shakuntala Shetty who heads the 23-member committee said that mobile is the reason behind kidnap and rape among college going girls. She said, "As we found several such incidents, we in the committee decided to recommend a ban on mobiles; ...it is not necessary for students, so we have mentioned that it should be banned."

The report submitted by the committee which refers to the rising incidents of rape across the country has cited some examples of rape cases including the December 16 Delhi gang rape case.

What the committee seems to believe is that if students are prevented from using phones, the rate of crime against women will move south as cell phones gives them unbridled access to many things which lead to such incidents.

Previously, Samajwadi Party MP Ramgopal Yadav blamed increase in crime against women to ‘vulgarity, obscenity and violence shown on the television channels.'

Banning phones not a solution:

What the house committee which has come up with this whimsical analogy needs to understand is banning a gadget will not really help the cause rather it may lead to more problems. By proposing that mobiles should be taken away from students, especially girls, it is failing to understand that these cell phones are also a help to many when in times of danger. By taking this regressive step it will put all those who feel more secure with phones in more danger. Instead of looking at mobile phones as a harmful gadget, it should be looked upon as a device which will keep girls connected to safety.

Police should be made more accessible, judiciary more sensitive and there should be strict laws which acts as deterrent to such crimes. Beyond that, only a change in social mindset will help not banning of mobile phones.

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