Bajura, April 19
While chhaupadi tradition in which a woman or a girl is banished from home during her menstrual period is still prevalent in the hilly districts of Far-West Province, Gaumul Rural Municipality in Bajura has got rid of the social evil, thanks to the initiative of local women activists.
Local women and girls had launched a demolition drive of chhaupadi sheds after they were informed about their rights to health, along with the ordeal of staying in the shed during menstruation.
Three persons had suffocated to death in a chhaupadi shed at Budhinanda Municipality, on January 8. After the incident, Bajura District Police Office had collected the data of chhaupadi sheds in coordination with the local level administrative units from across the district.
Of late, several programmes have been organised to make people aware about of chhaupadi tradition, which have largely paid off. The rural municipality does not have even a single chhaupadi shed at present, said DSP Uddab Singh Bhat. “Police personnel had collected data on chhaupadi sheds at all nine local levels in Bajura. But, there’s not even a single chhaupadi shed in Gaumul Rural Municipality,” said DSP Bhat.
The Bajura District Police Office data shows that rural municipalities other than Gaumul have 389 chhaupadi sheds. Gaumul Rural Municipality Vice-chair Sita Thapa said not a single house in the rural municipality had a chhaupadi shed though the rural municipality houses 1,588 families. “We visited every household and didn’t find a single chhaupadi shed at Gaumul,” she added.
Menstruating women and girls nowadays do not leave their homes. Mana Rokaya of Gaumul Rural Municipality said time to stay in trepidation during menstrual period had come to an end. “Women and girls used to live in chhaupadi sheds risking their lives. But now the whole rural municipality has got rid of chhaupadi sheds,” said Mana with pride.
A version of this article appears in print on April 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.