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Period Taboo Claims Life of 12-year-old Girl During Cyclone Gaja

She would have been alive were she not forced to sleep in a shed during her first period.

News18.com

Updated:November 21, 2018, 4:24 PM IST
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Period Taboo Claims Life of 12-year-old Girl During Cyclone Gaja
file image of cyclone Gaja (Image: PTI)
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Chennai: The family of 12-year-old Vijaya in Thanjavur would never have imagined that their insistence on following an orthodox custom on menstruation would claim the life of their child.

Vijaya was among 46 people killed when Cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu last week. She would have been alive were she not forced to sleep in a shed during her first period.

The Class 7 student was killed on November 12 when a coconut tree, uprooted by the cyclone, fell on the thatched barn, The News Minute reported. Her mother who was sleeping next to her was injured and is undergoing treatment in the hospital.

“This is some tradition in this part of the state. When a girl comes of age, the family asks her to stay separately in a thatched hut for at least a week. She is asked to come inside the house only after the rituals are done on completion of a certain number of days,” the report quoted Pattukottai DSP Ganesamoorthy as saying.

The girl was reportedly expected to stay in the barn for 16 days.

BBC quoted the girl’s grandmother Visalakshi as saying that the huge tree made it impossible for them to reach the hut. "We are shattered," she told BBC Tamil. "When we saw the tree, we lost hope. We waited for villagers to help us remove the tree and pull her out of the hut."

Kavya Menon, the head of AWARE India, said Vijaya's death was the result of societal violence against women and should serve as a wake-up call.
| Edited by: Anu Parthiban
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