A mother and her two children have died in Nepal after the woman was sent to an isolated hut because she had her period.
Amba Bohora, 35, and her children 12-year-old Suresh and 9-year-old Ramit, died from smoke inhalation suffocation after they stayed overnight in the small, purpose-built structure on Jan. 8, officials told BBC Hindi.
She is believed to have built a small fire to keep warm, but the shed in Bajura province in western Nepal had no windows or ventilation.
They were there because Bohora was on her period and was required to be isolated from other family members, under the outlawed superstition of Chhaupadi.
She was found by her inlaws, who she lived with after her husband traveled to India two months ago to look for work, the Kathmandu Post reported.
Chhaupadi, which states that menstruating women must be kept separate to ward off bad luck, was banned by Nepal’s Supreme Court in 2005 and criminalized in 2017.
Despite this, every year in Nepal there are cases of women dying due to the practice. A small study, published last month, found that around 77% of teenage girls in far-western Nepal still followed the superstition.
The tiny, windowless structures women are banished to are often purpose-built by the women themselves. There have been cases of women dying of the cold, snake bites, or (most frequently) suffocation from smoke after they light fires for warmth.
“The hut was so small that it could barely accommodate Amba and her two sons. One has to bend over to stand straight inside the hut,” Khadak Bohora, the ward chairman, told the Kathmandu Post.