A 16-year-old girl has reportedly died due to a snake bite in western Nepal after she was forced to stay in a hut outside her home during her period.
The teenager was bitten by a snake on Tuesday while she was sleeping in the outbuilding in Pancheshwar, Baitadi district, in Sudurpashchim province, according to The Kathmandu Post.
“The girl was sleeping outside her house in a shed during her menstrual cycle when the incident occurred,” Bina Bhatt, vice chair of the rural municipality, told the newspaper.
Some Hindus view menstruating girls and women as impure and untouchable, and they are forced to stay in a hut or shed outside their homes in parts of Nepal while on their period, under an ancient practice known as chhaupadi.
In August 2017, the Nepalese government passed legislation banning the centuries-old custom that banishes females from their communities during menstruation and after childbirth.
However, the practice still prevails in many areas – even though it is punishable by up to three months in prison and/or a fine of 3,000 Nepali rupees (£20).