A 35-year-old woman and her two children were found dead inside a menstruation shed in far-western Nepal as she observed a centuries-old Hindu tradition that banishes menstruating women from home, local police said on Thursday.
“The woman was on the second day of her period and had lit a fire in the hearth to keep herself and her sons aged 12 and nine warm in the village of Budhinanda,’’ Uddhab Singh Bhat, a deputy superintendent of police in Bajura district, said.
He said that they might have died of suffocation, because her legs and blanket were burned in the fire, adding that the small shed lacked ventilation.
The practice called Chhaupdai in the Nepali language is common in several districts of western Nepal.
Report says it forces women to cowsheds or outhouses, and forbids them from touching other people, cattle, vegetables or fruit.
The government criminalised the practice in August 2017, however it persists among patriarchal Hindu families that deem menstruating women as unclean.
According to the police officer, campaigns such as demolishing menstruation sheds as well as sensitising school children about the practice were ongoing in the region.
Women’s rights groups say over 12 women have already died during the practice in the last 10 years in Nepal.
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