Indonesian leader threatens teens dating after dark with marriage

  • AFP, Jakarta
  • Updated: Sep 04, 2015 01:00 IST

Dating just got harder for Indonesian teenagers in West Java, with a local leader on Thursday threatening to ban late-night trysts and marry off young couples caught out after dark.

If a new regulation goes ahead as planned on October 1, teenagers in Purwakarta, a local district about 100 kilometres from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, will be banned from visiting each other after 9pm.

To enforce the regulation, Dedi Mulyadi, the head of Purwakarta district, said local patrols and new CCTV cameras would keep a watchful eye out for canoodling teenagers breaking the rules. "Those who violate the rules will be summoned by the village cultural council for counselling," he said.

"If they break the rules three times, the village council may ask for the parents to marry them off."

It’s not clear how the measure will be enforced — Indonesians under 16 cannot legally marry — but underage ceremonies do still occur.

Mulyadi claimed the regulation — which will only apply to youths under 17 — would help return his hometown to its rural roots. This new provision would ensure teenagers were home in bed early and living a more traditional life, he added.

"I come from a village and back in the day, you could not visit a neighbour after 9pm because villagers would be in bed, preparing to wake up at dawn to till their paddy fields," he said.

Mulyadi said this new provision would also help enforce another of his schemes: banning underage, unlicensed drivers from zipping around on motorcycles.

Parents had 'thanked' him for reigning in their wayward children after they were caught on motorbikes, he said.

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