Now, asking menstruating women to stay away from home and isolating them during their periods is an offence in Nepal. As per the new law which was passed in the Parliament, whoever forces a woman to follow these rituals would have to pay a fine of Rs 3,000 or will be imprisoned for three months or both.
There are many communities in Nepal which still follow the custom known as chhaupadi, as per which women are considered untouchable when they menstruate. The women are considered impure and in some of the remote areas, they are forced to sleep away from home in a hut during their periods.
According to the new law passed in a unanimous vote, “A woman during her menstruation or post-natal state should not kept in chhaupadi or treated with any kind of similar discrimination or untouchable and inhuman behaviour”.
Many women have lost their lives while following the ritual, a few days back a teenage girl died after a snake bit him when she was sleeping in a chhau goth. Last year too, two women died in separate incidents while following the custom. Activists say that there are many similar deaths which go unreported.
It has been a decade since the Supreme Court banned the chhaupadi but the ritual is still prevalent in various parts of Nepal, particularly in remote western districts.
Lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, who was part of the committee that pushed through the bill, said the new law would finally put an end to the custom. He added, “Chhaupadi didn’t end because there was no law to punish people even after the Supreme Court outlawed the practice”.