Drive against Chhaupadi bearing fruit

Mahendranagar, October 25:

Women of over half-a-dozen VDCs in Kanchanpur district, who had been compelled to stay in Chhaupadi Kudi (separate huts constructed for women during childbirths and menstruation) during menstruation and childbirths, are staying in their houses these days. The change became possible after local women launched a social movement against the tradition of Chhaupadi.

Women of Uttar Pahariya village in Kanchanpur, along the Mahendra Highway, had destroyed 13 such huts last year. Laxmi Budha, the group leader, said: “The huts were destroyed following talks with women and family members.” Women of Daiji VDC also destroyed nine such huts recently. The movement against Chhaupadi is spreading in other VDCs of the district, too. Bhakta Bahadur BK, chairman of the Social Equality Campaign (SEC), Kanchanpur, said: “Eighty-three Chhaupadi Kudi have been destroyed in the district.”

The SEC is one of the groups spearheading the anti-Chhaupadi campaign. There are over 600 Chhaupadi Kudi in rural areas of the district, said women campaigning to bring an end to the tradition of Chhaupadi.

Chhaupadi tradition is still practised in Achham, Bajura, Bajhang, Doti, Darchula, Baitadi, Dadheldhura, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts of the far-western region.

Women have to face lots of difficulties while staying in Chhaupadi Kudi. They face insecurity and contract different diseases. Dr Shubhesh Raj Kayastha, the superintendent of the Mahendranagar-based Mahakali Zonal Hospital, said: “During summer, women who stay in Chhaupadi Kudi face different problems and contract encephalitis, malaria and other diseases.”