Tra­di­tion of ex­ile leaves woman dead

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - WORLD NEWS -

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A woman has died in a re­mote vil­lage in Nepal be­cause of a tra­di­tion in which women are ex­iled from their homes and forced to live in huts dur­ing men­stru­a­tion, a govern­ment of­fi­cial said Fri­day.

The 21-year-old is be­lieved to have died from smoke in­hala­tion from a fire she lit in the hut to keep warm in the freez­ing tem­per­a­tures in the moun­tain vil­lage, said govern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tor Tul Ba­hadur Kawcha.

The woman was found dead on Mon­day.

Kawcha said the tra­di­tion is still prac­ticed in some re­mote vil­lages de­spite a govern­ment ban on the prac­tice and a law in­tro­duced last year to pun­ish peo­ple who force women to fol­low the cus­tom.

The new law goes into ef­fect in Au­gust this year, with vi­o­la­tors who force women into ex­ile dur­ing men­stru­a­tion fac­ing up to three months in prison or a fine of $29.

Many men­stru­at­ing women are still forced to leave their homes and take shel­ter in un­hy­gienic or in­se­cure huts or cow sheds un­til their cy­cle ends, though the prac­tice — called “Ch­hau­padi” — was ac­tu­ally out­lawed a decade ago.

But with­out any penal­ties, the cus­tom con­tin­ued in many parts of the ma­jor­ity Hindu Hi­malayan coun­try, es­pe­cially in the west­ern hills.

While ex­iled in iso­la­tion, some women face bit­ter cold or at­tacks by wild an­i­mals.

Un­clean con­di­tions can also cause in­fec­tions.

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