Banished from home, Achham woman dies in menstrual hut

ACHHAM: A 21-year-old woman was found dead in a menstrual hut after being banished from home during her monthly cycle in Siddeshwar of Sanfebagar Municipality-3 in Achham district, on Monday.

"The deceased has been identified as Parwati Budha Rawat, who moved to Siddeshwar from Mallekh Rural Municipality-7 after getting married only 18 months ago," said Narapati Bhatta, Police Inspector at Area Police Office, Sanfebagar.

"According to preliminary investigation, Rawat probably died from suffocation due to excessive smoke from attempts to heat her shelter during the night. We are investigating this case further," said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Janak Bahadur Shahi at the District Police Office. As part of her menstrual seclusion, Rawat had spent her night in a hut only 100 metres away from home. Her family discovered her dead inside the hut today morning.

Rawat's body has been sent to Achham District Hospital, Mangalsain for postmortem.

Mostly in far-western Nepal, women still adhere to this tradition and are not allowed to stay home during the time of the month of they are menstruating. They are forced to live separately in cowsheds and makeshift huts.

The Government of Nepal has criminalised this practice and anyone who forces menstruating women into huts can face up to three months in jail along with fine. More than 15 girls have lost their lives to this malpractice in the past decade alone but no arrests have been made so far.

(Translated by Madhavi Marasini)