Kathmandu, February 4: Despite the Nepali government declaring menstrual huts a criminal practice, a Nepali woman has died after spending a night in one such construction. This is the second such incident being reported from Nepal in the last one month.
Parvati, a 21-year-old woman died reportedly due to suffocation after she lit a fire to stay warm while she had to spend time in a windowless hut as part of a banned practice that considers women untouchable during menstruation.
The incident happened in Nepal's remote Doti district on January 31 when Parvati was sleeping alone in a secluded hut as she underwent her menstrual cycle. When Parvati did not wake up at her usual time the next morning, her mother-in-law Laxmi Bogati went to the hut to check on her but found her limp body, the Kathmandu Post reported. "She (Parwati) was excited about the next day as her menstruation would end. Poor child closed her eyes forever," said Laxmi.
She said that Parwati took shelter in an abandoned house nearby as the regular menstrual hut she used to go to was crowded that day as three other women from the village were there to spend the night as well.
The rural municipality's Chairman Dirgha Bogati confirmed that prima facie Parwati’s death seemed to be due to suffocation. "Police took the body for post-mortem on the same evening," he said.
As part of old Hindu traditions, many communities in Nepal consider menstruating women impure and force women of menstruation age to stay in sheds away from the family home once a month. This practice was banned by Nepal's Supreme Court in 2005 which was followed by a new law in 2017 to criminalise it. Read: Chhattisgarh: Women Forced to Live in 'Menstruation House' when Chumming
In January this year, a 35-year-old Nepali woman and two of her sons died of suffocation after they spent a night in a windowless hut as part of the banned practice. Similarly, in 2018, a 23-year-old woman in Nepal was found dead at an isolated hut where she was left alone as part of the banned practice.
(With PTI inputs)