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Woman dies of suffocation after she was banished to secluded home during menstruation

- MOHAN SHAHI, DOTI

Feb 1, 2019-

One more woman has died due to the ill practice of banishing women from home during menstruation in Nepal’s remote western district Doti on Wednesday.

Twenty-one-year Parwati Bogati of Purbichauki Rural Municipality-5, who was sleeping alone in a secluded house due to menstruation, died of suffocation. Bogati had lit a fire to keep herself warm in a rainy Wednesday night.

When Bogati did not wake up till late Thursday morning, her mother-in-law Laxmi Bogati went to the house to check her but found that she had passed away. “She (Parwati) was excited about the next day as her menstruation would end,” said Laxmi. “Poor child closed her eyes forever.”

Women in menstrual cycle are considered untouchable by conservative societies of Nepal and are forced to sleep in menstrual hut away from home. Parwati decided to sleep in a nearby abandoned house as the regular menstrual hut she used to go was crowded that day because three more women from the village in their period were already there to spend the night.

The rural municipality’s Chairman Dirgha Bogati said that she died of suffocation. Police took the body for post-mortem on the same evening, he said.

The Bogati Village’s Bahuntole has some six households. All the women share same menstrual hut when they are in their period. “Sometimes we are forced to share the same hut when all of us are in the period together,” said Maina Bogati who is a seventh grader, adding that they have to spend the night uncomfortably due to congestion.

The practice of banishing women to menstrual hut has been criminalised by the government yet villagers who are blindfolded by the age-old religious belief are reluctant to give up on this longstanding practice. Villagers fear the wrath of god and bad omen if menstruating women touch male members of the house and visit kitchen or temple.

Parwati’s mother-in-law said that the practice should be banned. “No matter what, our society does not allow women to sleep inside home during menstruation,” said Laxmi grievingly.

This is not the first incident a woman had to lose her life due to the practice during menstruation in Nepal. On January 8, a mother and two sons died after she was banished to an outdoor shed during her period in Budhinanda Municipality-9 of Bajura district. All three had died of suffocation due to a fire.

Likewise, in June 2018, a teenage girl had died of snake bite in menstrual exile or Chhaupadi at Turmakhand Rural Municipality-4 in Achham district.

Read: Even right activists and teachers observe criminalised Chhaupadi in western Nepal

 

Published: 01-02-2019 21:21

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