Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district has a long reputation for poverty and backwardness. Even today, it takes vigilance to prevent child marriages here.

Six child marriages were stopped in Dharmapuri district on Tuesday by the district administration. The marriages were planned on Wednesday in different villages.

District Collector P. Amutha said in a statement on Tuesday night said that she was informed over phone about the impending child marriages. On the basis of available information, she took swift action to stop them from taking place.

The Collector instructed Tahsildars of Pappireddypatti, Pennagaram, Palacode, Dharmapuri and police to visit the villages of the bridegrooms and stop the marriages.

Officials pre-empted the marriage of teenaged girls ranging in age from 13 to 16 from Sengalaalli in Pappireddypatti taluk, Thippttipallam, Thasankottai, M. Savalur, Kollampatti, Mothukila Alli villages in Dharmapuri and Palacode taluks.

All the children who were to be married off were school students. One girl of Dasankottai had even secured 427 marks in the SSLC examination. Police and revenue officials served a warning on the parents of the girls and boys. They were apprised of the legal implications of performing child marriage, a press release from the Collector said.

Ms. Amutha said the number of such incidents was coming down. Many cases were filed against those conducting child marriages. Criminal action would be initiated against those responsible. Action would also be taken against VAOs, Village Assistants and the clerks who fail to inform the district administration. Two marriages were recently stopped in Pennagaram and Harur, she pointed out.

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