Nepal criminalises isolation of menstruating women

Nepal’s Parliament on Wednesday criminalised an ancient Hindu practice that banishes women from the home during menstruation.

Many communities in Nepal view menstruating women as impure and in some remote areas they are forced to sleep in a hut away from home during their periods, a custom known as ‘chhaupadi’.

The new law stipulates a three-month jail sentence or a Rs 3,000 fine, or both, for anyone forcing a woman to follow the custom.

“A woman during her menstruation or post-natal state should not kept in ‘chhaupadi’ or treated with any kind of similar discrimination or untouchable and inhuman behaviour,” reads the law, passed in an unanimous vote.

It will only come into effect in a year’s time.

‘Chhaupadi’ is linked to Hinduism and considers women untouchable when they menstruate, as well as after childbirth.

They are banished from the home — barred from touching food, religious icons, cattle and men — and forced to sleep in basic huts known as ‘chhau goth’.

Last month a teenage girl died after being bitten by a snake while sleeping in a ‘chhau goth’.

(Agencies)

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