The Hush Post: A novel way to lessen the problems of the women folk in villages and small towns, the Kullu district administration has decided to launch a year-long programme to end the practice of banishing women to the cattle-shed during their monthly cycle. The programme called ‘Naari Samman’ is meant to generate awareness amongst villagers to shed the stigma attached with the days of menstruation when women are not allowed to enter temples, kitchens or even houses.
Women in remote villages are made to live separately in cow sheds every month during menstruation, as has been the practice since unknown times. A survey conducted by the Kullu district administration found that the archaic practice is still observed in as many as 91 of the 204 village panchayats of the district. A helpline (01902222105) number has been set up for women to gather more information about this campaign, for free counselling and medical and psychiatric help. It will maintain a record of women calling on this helpline.
The practice, they say, has been borrowed from Nepal wherein women are relegated to cattle-sheds to keep impurities out of home. Last year, the Nepal government passed a bill criminalising this retrograde practice.
Deputy Commisssioner, Kullu, Yunnus khan, who has initiated the first-of its-kind campaign from village Naujana, said their survey found that many women in the remote areas were forced to stay in isolation or in secluded places during their periods. The district administration will begin the campaign at the panchayat level with the help of anganwadi workers, health workers, women cells, temple committees, etc. For a regular review of its effect at the ground level, teams have been constituted which will check the progress of the initiative every week and month.