Nepal | January 16, 2021

15 girls, women died in chhausheds in 13 yrs

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, March 23

As many as 15 girls and women died in chhau sheds in the last 13 years in Achham and Dailekh districts alone, according to a recent report made public by National Human Rights Commission.

“Many menstruating girls and women are compelled to lose their lives in chhausheds, but the government and other stakeholders seem least concerned about eliminating this ill practice,” said Mohna Ansari, a member of National Human Rights Commission.

“Chhaupadi was never made a serious national or political issue,” added Ansari.

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.

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 chhaugoth.

The practice of staying in sheds away from homes is still prevalent in the hilly districts of Bajura, Doti, Bajahng, Mugu, Kalikot, Baitadi and Dailekh, among other districts in the mid and far-west regions during menstruation and post-natal period.

While unmarried women are required to stay in the shed alone for the first seven days of the menstrual cycle, married women stay for five days.

There is a strongly held belief that if menstruating girls and women are allowed to stay at home, their ‘unclean bodies’ would anger the gods.

The Supreme Court declared chhaupadi an evil ten years ago and subsequently issued a directive to eliminate the practice in 2008.

Despite legal reform, the practice continued unabated. Then in the year 2017, the Parliament passed Criminal Code Bill and criminalised chhaupadi. The new law stipulates a three-month jail sentence or Rs 3,000 fine, or both, for anyone forcing a woman to follow the custom.

But again, the ill practice  ofchhaupadi could not be eliminated due to poor enforcement of law. “Law has been made, but implementation is not effective,” said Ansari.

Till date not even a single complaint has been registered with district police offices in Dailekh and Achham. Police officers in the districts said they were not able to take action against anyone as they did not
receive any complaint in this regard.

“While visiting both districts as a member of national inquiry team formed by the national human rights body, police officers arrested the family members for forcing female members to live in chhau sheds during menstruation period, but the court issued an order to release them due to lack of any evidence,” shared Deputy Superintendent of Police DipakPokharel.

“On the one hand, no girl or woman wants to give statement against the family members who force them to live in chhaushed, and on the other hand, in many cases the culprits use political influence to get clean chit from police,” Pokharel added.

The NHRC’s report prepared on the basis of public hearings in Dailekh and Achham has recommended to the central government to implement the law strictly to prevent deaths in chhau sheds and provide sanitary pads in the rural parts of the country free of cost. In the same way, it has also recommended to reduce costums duty on sanitary pads.

Furthermore, the report also recommends that students should be made aware about the ill practice by including lessons on chhaupadi in school curriculum.

Organising different awareness programmes at provincial and local levels, implementation of law and active participation in awareness programmes against chhaupadi are the other recommendations made by the report.

A version of this article appears in print on March 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 270 new cases, 390 recoveries and five fatalities recorded on Friday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country. READ MORE: Kathmandu valley logs 172 new Covid-19 infections on Friday Till date, 2,005,125 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried out wherein 3,084 Read More...

Photo Gallery: NC student cadres demonstrate against House dissolution

Kathmandu, January 15 Seen in the pictures below are youth activists affiliated to the main opposition Nepali Congress taking part in a tug of war during a protest against the dissolution of House, in Kathmandu, on Friday. On December 20, PM Oli recommended the dissolution of House of Represen Read More...

Germany surpasses 2 million coronavirus cases, death rate up

BERLIN: Germany surpassed 2 million coronavirus infections and the death toll from the pandemic reached almost 45,000, experts said on Friday, a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded "very fast action" to curb the deadly virus. Europe's biggest economy and most populous country managed the Read More...

UPDATE: Indonesia quake kills at least 35, injures hundreds

JAKARTA: A powerful earthquake killed at least 35 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia's island of Sulawesi on Friday, trapping several under rubble and unleashing dozens of aftershocks as authorities warned of more quakes that could trigger a tsunami. Thousands of frightened residents fled t Read More...

Root masterclass helps England dominate rain-hit day two v Sri Lanka

GALLE: Joe Root's masterful unbeaten 168 has put England in firm control of the first test against Sri Lanka as they closed a rain-hit second day on 320 for four, a first innings lead of 185 over their struggling hosts. It has been by no means plain sailing on a pitch with prodigious turn, but Ro Read More...

Sixth meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission held in New Delhi

KATHMANDU: The sixth meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission was held in New Delhi, India on Friday. Nepal's foreign minister and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of India, co-chaired the meet as leaders of their respective delegations today. In a pr Read More...

From net bowler to test debut, India's Natarajan continues fairytale journey

BRISBANE: T Natarajan's fairytale trip to Australia continued on Friday when the left-arm quick, who arrived as a net bowler, became the first Indian player to make his international debut in all three formats during the same tour. Known for his pinpoint yorkers, which troubled batsmen in the Ind Read More...

Constitutional bench to adjudicate House dissolution case

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 15 The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana today ruled that cases field against the dissolution of the House of Representatives would be heard by the same bench continuously from Sunday. The SC passed the order after hear Read More...