Kathmandu: A Nepali mother and her two children have died of suspected smoke inhalation after a night in a windowless hut where women are banished during their period, police said Wednesday.

Many communities in Nepal consider menstruating women as impure and force mothers and daughters to stay in sheds away from the family home once a month, despite the practice being outlawed.

Police said that Amba Bohara, 35, fell asleep in a hut in western Bajura district on Tuesday evening with her two sons aged 12 and 9. The trio had huddled around a fire to stay warm in Nepal's freezing winter conditions.

"We are waiting for the results of a postmortem to confirm the cause of death, but believe they died of suffocation...We are investigating", said local police chief.

The death of Bohara and her children are not the first linked to the practice. Last year, a 21-year-old woman succumbed to smoke inhalation while banished to a hut, and other women have died from snake bites in the past.

The country's National Human Rights Commission said that police needed to do more to enforce the law. "Women will continue to die unless there are consequences for enforcing this tradition," said the commission's Mohna Ansari.

 

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