Rajnandgaon, June 17: The practice of socially outcasting women during their menstrual period prevails in Vananchal’s Sitagaon even today. The menstruating women of this village in Chhattisgarh face discrimination as they are prohibited from interacting with people and are forced to stay alone in a hut located in the outskirts of the village.

This social taboo of ostracising women during their period is rooted in the belief that the women will otherwise earn the wrath of God. In addition to subjugating women, such orthodox practices undermine the importance of menstrual hygiene.

Mithilesh Chaudhary, Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) said, “Officials of Health Department and Women & Child Development Department visit such villages and try to educate people about diseases & infections caused by these orthodox traditions. We encourage them to use sanitary pads.”

In recent years, the government has taken several steps to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene. For instance, the Bollywood movie PadMan, starring Akshay Kumar, was a definitive initiative towards bringing the issue to the limelight to dispel the stigmas surrounding menstruation. Inspired by the movie, 1200 women in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh participated in a campaign to talk about the less discussed topic ‘menstruation’ on 21 February this year. The Zilla Panchayat at Khairpur Gram Panchayat of Raigarh organized the event to educate women on the importance of switching to sanitary napkins and stop relying on cloth during their periods.