21 November

When taboo over menstruation took a young girl's life Featured

On November 16, when Cyclone Gaja began ravaging lives and livelihoods across seven districts in Tamil Nadu, a different kind of tragedy – yet, not unrelated – hit the small, poor family of Selvaraj at Anaikaadu village near Pattukottai. His 14-year-old daughter, S. Vijaya, a class 7 student, was being made to stay alone in a hut nearby and in the wee hours of November 17, her corpse was recovered. Apparently, she had died after a coconut tree fell on the hut.

Speaking to a Tamil news channel, a sobbing Selvaraj said Vijaya was being made to stay alone in the hut since it was customary to do so when “a girl attains puberty”. An agricultural labourer working in the coconut farm, Selvaraj and his family – wife and son – were staying in another hut in the same premises. Only a year ago, they lost their elder son to a snake bite in the same farm. “It was evident that Vijaya was petrified, she had tried to scream and attract attention, but the cyclonic winds drowned her voice,” says a local journalist. “It took several hours for the family to retrieve the body from beneath the tree. They managed to conduct the funeral with very little help”.

Last modified on Friday, 30 November 2018 10:35
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