A 15-year old girl suffocated in a small, dismal shed after she was banished there because she was menstruating. She apparently died of smoke inhalation resulting from the small fire she lit to keep warm.
Some Hindus in Nepal’s western Achram district believe that menstruating women are impure and need to be isolated in small huts or sheds sometimes shared by cattle and other wildlife. The Hindu practice called chhaupadi has been banned in the country for ten years but still continues to be practiced.
The body of Roshani Tiruwa was found by her father last weekend in a mud hut in the village of Gajra, in Achham district, west of Kathmandu.
Some believe that the communities or villages will be visited by evil spirits or suffer a misfortune such as a natural disaster unless menstruating women are secluded. While hidden in the hut, they are denied their usual intake of food and milk. As in the case of Ms. Tiruwa, subscription to such ancient rituals can lead to disastrous results.