Locals tear down Chhaupadi huts amid wide concern over deaths in sheds
BAJURA: After a woman and her two sons suffocated while-in-exile in a menstrual hut, concerned authorities and locals are now tearing down ‘Chhau’ sheds in their villages in a bid to end the practice of monthly exile of menstruating girls and women (Chhaupadi) in Bajura.
Following the recent deaths, municipal authorities had called for dismantling of Chhau huts within 10 days and had warned of service denial and legal action to those who practice or encourage marginalisation and banishment of girls and women to cowsheds during monthly menstruation.
“After the municipality passed strict warnings and notified all ward offices, locals have now initiated a campaign to deconstruct Chhau huts,” Budinanda Municipality Vice-Mayor Shristi Regmi informed.
The municipality reports that 47 menstrual huts were dismantled in ward 4 of the municipality alone while a total of 60 sheds have been pulled down till date since the municipal warning.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers deployed by District Police Office (DPO) in Bajura are patrolling the villages surveying the existing huts.
According to District Police Chief and Deputy Superintendent of Police, Udhhav Bhatt, the DPO has come to know of more than 120 Chhaupadi sheds in nine local levels in the region.
“We have allotted time to locals to pull down such huts and if they do not abide, police personnel will take up the task,” the DSP said.
Likewise, authorities governing respective local levels have informed that denizens of the region are tearing down the huts while officials are taking stock and raising awareness among locals against the ill-practice of banishing women to menstrual huts at risk of their lives.
Action against Chhaupadi
RSS: The Parliamentary Hearing Committee meeting held on Thursday issued directives to the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens to book individuals and institutions forcing girls and women to practice Chhaupadi.
Also, the meeting directed authorities to adopt a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to abiding laws.
Although the Clause 168 (3) of the Criminal Code makes Chhaupadi illegal, Nepal witnesses deaths of women, girls and children who are exiled to Chhau huts every year.
(Translated/Edited by Prahlad Rijal)