Mysuru: In a community meeting held on Sunday evening, the Yajamans (chieftains) of 88 gadimane-kattemane (Uppara community habitats) of five taluks in Mysuru and Chamarajanagar decided to end child marriages in the community. This initiative is a first of its kind.

The decision has been taken after three recent child marriages took place in the community, including one from the home constituency of community leader and Chamarajanagar district minister, C Puttaranga Shetty. Incidentally, he was the one to organise the meeting on Sunday.

According to the decisions taken, the parents must ensure that the bride and the bridegroom get to talk to each other before finalising the alliance. The bride and bridegroom must also provide consent to take the proposal forward.

The most important decision that was taken in the meeting was to impose a fine of Rs 4 lakh on families that go ahead with child marriages.

Community priest, Manjunatha Swamy, chaired the meeting. Among the leaders that attended the meeting were Purushottama Swamiji, Uppara seer from Mangala village, Chinna Swamyji of Ayyanasaragur Mutt.

According to reports, more child marriages had been reported from Uppara community recently. It is numerically significant in the Old Mysuru region.

President of District Uppara Youth Association, M Jayakumar, who was instrumental in organising the event reportedly said that the meeting unanimously decided to prohibit child marriages in the community. He also stated that many reforms were proposed in the meeting including emphasis on education of girls. He also reportedly stated that child marriages are a black spot on the community.

Community leaders from Nanjanagundu, Gundlupet Kollegal, Yelandur and Chamarajanagar, who attended the meeting, agreed to go ahead with the reforms.