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AKIPRESS.COM - The new law calls for jail terms for violators who banish women from the home during menstruation. But questions remain about enforcement in a country where the practice continues despite being outlawed a decade ago, Deutsche Welle reported.
Nepal's parliament has passed a bill to criminalize the centuries-old Hindu tradition of Chhaupadi that forces menstruating women to leave their homes and take shelter in unhygienic or insecure huts or cow sheds until their period ends.
The new law goes into effect in about a year's time. Offenders will face a three-month jail sentence or a 3,000 Nepali rupee ($30, 25-euro) fine or both.
The tradition has persisted despite a ban by the country's Supreme Court in 2005, largely due to a deeply-rooted belief among patriarchal Hindu families that menstruating women are impure.
"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," said Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel, one of the lawmakers who passed the bill on Wednesday.
"People will be discouraged to follow this discriminatory custom due to fear of punishment," he said.
The practice has been criticized for risking lives of women. While in isolation, women are often exposed to bitter cold or attacks by snakes and wild animals.