Under a strange rule, no woman in an Andhra village is allowed to wear a 'nightie' between 7 am and 7 pm. Violations attract a fine of Rs 2,000. The diktat, imposed by a nine-member group of village elders, is in force at Tokalappalli in West Godavari district.
All the women in the village have been strictly following the rule over the past nine months. Those tipping off the elders about breaking the rule will get a reward of Rs 1,000.
The money collected as fine will be used to meet various needs of the villagers. The women folk in the village number around 1,800.
Though the diktat is being obeyed in the village for the last nine months, the outside world learnt about the affair only when government officials, including the tahasildar and police inspector, reached Thokalappalli to conduct an enquiry.
They were informed that villagers refusing to follow the rule had been threatened with a social boycott. However, not even a single woman resident of the village was willing to file a complaint against the ban on the nightie.
A village elder told a news agency that it was a collective of women in the village that had proposed the ban. Some other media organisations said the women had informed them that they were facing no compulsion to follow the rule. According to the village women, they were only happy to obey the ban on the nightie.
However, the police officers are of the view that such diktats violated the fundamental rights of women and were against the law of the land. These facts have been conveyed to the villagers, said the police.