No kidding, child marriages are on the rise in Mysuru

Attributed to superstition, poverty, lack of education

Stringent action against people encouraging child marriages in the district has not been a deterrent for the propagators of the ill practice which has been on the rise in Mysuru district.

The menace is rampant among backward communities in KR Nagar and Hunsur taluks in the districts. Authorities state that superstition, poverty and lack of education are the major reasons behind the rising incidents.

In 2016 authorities managed to avert 96 child marriages in Mysuru district, including 50 in K R Nagar and 26 in Hunsur while in 2014-15, as many as 111 marriages were stopped.

Deputy Director for Women and Child Development K Radha said the practice is rampant among Kuruba and Uppara communities in KR Nagar taluk, Kesturakoppal, Cheeranahalli, Kalamanakoppal, Halladkoppal, DK Koppal and other villages.

She said child marriages were being performed with the support of local political leaders. In many cases, parents marry their daughters when the girl attains 12 or 13 years of age. Superstition, lack of awareness and education are the major reasons behind the illegal act, she said.

The authorities are not able to book the violators due to lack of documents and witnesses. “Most people do not take photographs of the marriage as it can be used as a document for the crime. We need at least have photographs as proof to file a case with the police,” Radha said.

Attack on anganwadi workers
Anganwadi workers have been asked to educate villagers on the ill-effects of child marriages and the legal implications of encouraging the practice. Villagers however, disapprove of anganwadi workers intervening to stop child marriages and end up attacking them. Radha said the authorities have urged anganwadi workers to seek police help.

‘Child marriage free village’
With a view to encourage people against illegal marriages in villages, the department has come up with a novel initiative to award villages where no child marriages have been reported in the last three years. The villages banishing the practice would be given the tag of ‘Child marriage free village’ and also awarded a cash prize as per the Justice Shivaraj Patil Committee report,  Radha said.
 

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