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Nepal's parliament criminalises ill custom against women

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a land mark reform by criminalising the centuries-old social ill practice called “Chhaupadi,” prevalent in many parts of the country, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
Under this ancient custom in rural Nepal, a woman is banished to makeshift houses called “goth” during her menstruation and postnatal period in complete isolation from other family members.
In chhaupadi practice, women are not allowed to do any household chores and touch the male family members, considering them as impure and untouchable.
Chaupadi is widely practiced amongst Hindu women in over a dozen districts in western Nepal. Many people believe that they will suffer from bad luck, illness and natural disasters if the menstruating women are allowed to live a normal routine life during their monthly periods.
According to the Criminal Code Bill passed by the House, anyone forcing women to follow this practice may get a three-month jail term or 3,000-rupee fine or even both. The law is expected to come into effect in a year.
This new law has been regarded as an attempt to abolish the ill social traditions full of discrimination and prejudices towards women.
Nepal’s Supreme Court had banned chhaupadi in 2005, but the practice has been continued in remote districts. -- BERNAMA

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