• Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:32 am

Deaths prompt Nepal to offer cash to women who shun 'menstrual huts'

  • Published at 05:07 pm December 4th, 2019
According to a 2014 National Hygiene Baseline Survey, 89% of the surveyed girls who used cloth instead of sanitary pads, stored their menstrual cloth in a hidden place for repeated use without washing them in a hygienic manner Bigstock

Campaigners say few are punished as victims rarely file complaints against their own family members

A Nepali village will give cash rewards to women who refuse to be isolated in illegal 'menstrual huts' during their periods, an official said on Tuesday after the custom led to another death.

Parbati Buda Rawat, 21, was on the third day of her period on Sunday when she lit a fire to keep warm in the freezing mud and stone hut, but was discovered dead the next morning in western Nepal's Achham district, police said.

"It appears she died after suffocating," Narapati Bhatta, a police inspector, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Outrage led to a parliamentary investigation into the centuries-old Hindu practice of "chhaupadi," outlawed in 2005, after a teenage girl and a mother and her young sons died in two similar incidents earlier this year.

The custom remains prevalent in Nepal's remote west where some communities fear misfortune, such as a natural disaster, unless menstruating women and girls - seen as impure - are sent away to animal sheds or huts.

They are also not allowed to meet other family members or venture out, must eat frugally, and are barred from touching a range of items - including milk, religious idols and cattle.

The chairman of Purbichowki village municipality in Doti district - on the western border of Achham district where the latest victim died - said he will reward women who reject chhaupadi with $44.

"We need to tear down the huts in our minds, change attitudes and accept menstruation as a natural process in the life of a woman," said Dirgha Raj Bogati, adding that demolishing the huts had proven ineffective.

"If we dismantle one hut, they move away and build another one," he said.

The new reward - a one-off payment to deter families from using the huts - will benefit 100 women this year, he said, in one of the world's poorest nations, where World Bank data shows 41% of a 28 million population live on less than $3.20 a day.

Bogati repeated warnings by local officials that families would be denied state benefits if found practising chhaupadi.

The government introduced three-month jail terms and fines of 3,000 rupees for those who exclude menstruating women and girls, which puts them at risk of snake bites, attacks by wild animals and rape, as well as carbon dioxide poisoning.

Campaigners say few are punished as victims rarely file complaints against their own family members. Om Prakash Aryal, a human rights lawyer, urged police to prepare their own reports and file cases in courts if victims feared coming forward.

"It is shame that such an inhuman practice still prevails in Nepal. It is a blot on our civilization," he said.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail