Mysuru: 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 and anyone found to be non-compliant will have to pay a fine of Rs 4 lakh.

The decision has been taken after three recent child marriages were reported. One of them was from the home constituency of community leader and Chamarajanagar district minister C Puttaranga Shetty.

C Puttaranga Shetty, also a Yajamana, organised a meeting on Sunday evening. The decision to eliminate child marriage from the community was taken then.

The parents must also ensure that the bride and the bridegroom get to talk to each other before finalising the alliance. They must also give consent to take the proposal forward. This is another decision that has been taken.

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. Purushottama Swamiji, Uppara seer from Mangala village, Chinna Swamyji of Ayyanasaragur Mutt and other leaders attended the meeting.

Reports state that more child marriages had been reported from Uppara community which is numerically significant in the Old Mysuru Region.

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

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