Killer public toilets and a ban on menstruating women in the toilet

The Times of India reports on the death of 3 men while they were waiting in line to use a public toilet in the Mankhurd suburb of Mumbai on the 3rd February. The building collapsed around them and five men fell into the 15-foot septic tank, three of them dying. The toilet has had similar problems in the past and seven people have died there in the last two years. A court case has been initiated against the city authorities by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre.

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My Republica has a story from the Bajhang district of Nepal, where remote villages have recently had toilets installed. In 20 of these villages, women have been banned from using the toilet while they are menstruating or immediately post-delivery, by the village elders. This means that these women and girls are forced to relieve themselves in the outdoors to avoid “defiling” the toilets and angering the deities. Menstruating women are even banned from touching toilets, and many women are being discouraged from using the toilets even when they are not menstruating. Local women protesting the decision of the elders say that they carried the mud and the bricks to build the toilets even while they were menstruating and so they should have the right to use them now.

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