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After DH report, Karnataka women's panel chief adopts village

Seeking change
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 00:22 IST
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 00:22 IST

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Bengaluru: Following a DH report titled 'Menstruating women, new mothers still banished to squalid huts', published on May 20, the chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Women, Dr Nagalakshmi Chowdhary, visited Bisadahalli village in Tumakuru district to intervene in the practice of "menstrual exile" among Kadu Golla communities. 

Speaking to a gathering of villagers, Dr Chowdhary promised to heed to villagers' demand for basic toilet access and waterproofing, "I have decided to adopt the village and make provisions for basic facilities. I will visit the village once more in the coming week to ensure that new mothers and menstruating women are sent back home," she told DH. 

Under this practice, new mothers and menstruating women are "exiled" outdoors, spending their time in gudlu (thatched huts) or the two-room Krishnana Kuteera, a facility built with government funds to provide shelter. The tradition, though banned, is openly practised at Bisadahalli, a village with 50 families under Tovinakere panchayat, not very far from the state capital, Bengaluru. 

During the visit, Dr Chowdhary met two women and their babies and girls who have been subjected to the practice of isolation during menstruation. Recognising the urgent need for change, she directed the tahsildar, CEO of the zilla panchayat, and other officials to provide basic facilities and enable these women, along with their babies, to return to their homes.

"I spoke to villagers about the practice and conveyed to them the dangers of such a practice. Two new mothers have agreed to go home and I will personally ensure that," Dr Chowdhary added. 

She has also instructed officials to repurpose the existing menstruation room into a community toilet for women, ensuring its utility and access to all women in the community.

Manjamma, a local activist, explained that the villagers responded positively to the intervention and were looking forward to basic toilet access. "There are very few toilets in the village. Most women also use cloth and not pads or cups. This has also ensured that the practice has continued," she said.

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Published 11 June 2024, 00:22 IST

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