A sixteen year old girl, Krishna Bishal, has died of snake bite after she was banished from her family home in Dailekh district, Nepal, for menstruating.
However, Nepal’s parliament on Thursday criminalised a centuries-old Hindu tradition that banishes menstruating women from home.
One of the lawmakers, Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, who passed the bill, said, “this was a criminal act, but we didn’t have any laws that deemed it illegal.
“Now that we have passed the law, we can punish those involved in it.”
Daily Mail UK quoted her as saying that the law will come to implementation only in a year’s time “because the tradition is so deeply rooted in some parts of our country that we need time to prepare for its effective implementation.”
The practice which is common in several districts of western Nepal forces women to stay outside houses, and forbids them from touching other people, cattle, vegetables or fruit.
Although the country’s Supreme Court has banned the practice in 2005, the tradition persisted among patriarchal Hindu families that deemed menstruating women as unclean.
Offenders will face a three-month jail sentence or a 3000 Nepali rupee (30 dollars) fine or both.
The practice known as Chhaupadi in Nepali, has been criticised for endangering lives of women.
Women’s rights groups say more than 10 women have already died during the practice in the last 10 years in the country.