Achham police launch campaign against Chhaupadi

- MENUKA DHUNGANA, ACHHAM

Mar 12, 2019-

The District Police Office, Achham, has launched an awareness campaign in a bid to educate the people about the law against Chhaupadi, a customary practice in which menstruating girls and women are deemed impure and banished into seclusion.

Though the Civil and Criminal Code has criminalised Chhaupadi, it is still prevalent in various districts in Sudurpaschim Province, including Achham. The practice of Chhaupadi is not only discriminatory against women, it is also life-endangering. Many girls and women have died in Chhaupadi sheds due to reasons such as cold, smoke inhalation, burning, snakebite, and wildlife attack.    

DSP Janak Bahadur Shahi, the Achham district police chief, said women were still observing Chhaupadi knowing the risks associated with the practice, because more than their well-being, they seem to fear divine punishment for challenging the myth of menstrual impurity.

Such mindset cannot be changed unless the people are made aware, Shahi added.

“Under the Community-Police Collaboration Campaign, we have launched a programme through which we have been reaching out to people from village to village to raise awareness against Chhaupadi and educated the people about the law against the custom.”  

Police are also organising talk sessions with students to teach them about the ills of Chhaupadi and the law against it.   

Besides disseminating anti- Chhaupadi messages and teaching people about the legal provisions against the practice, the campaign has also been raising awareness against domestic violence, child marriage, drug addiction and cyber crimes.

“We have been running this campaign in coordination with the concerned stakeholders in various schools and villages to control criminal activities including Chhaupadi. The campaign is largely focused on young people and children because this is the best time to sensitise young minds about the ills of Chhaupadi,” said DSP Shahi.

The clause 168 (3) of the Civil and Criminal Code has a provision that prescribes three-month jail term and a fine of Rs 3,000 against anyone found guilty of forcing a menstruating woman to live in a Chhaupadi shed. The punishment is more severe for those holding public positions.

It has been seven months since the code came to effect, but not a single case against Chhaupadi has been registered so far.

Rup Bahadur Khadka, a teacher at Shodasha High School, welcomed the anti-Chhaupadi campaign targeting the school children.

“The knowledge that students gain at schools are not enough to curb Chhaupadi. It’s a good move on the part of the police to organise this campaign because the students will be more receptive to the

information coming from them,” Khadka said.

Published: 12-03-2019 10:09

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