The National Commission for Women on Tuesday issued a notice to Maharashtra’s chief secretary after a news report claimed that women cane-cutters in Beed district were undergoing hysterectomy to avoid being fined due to menstruation, reported PTI.

The commission called the condition of the women pathetic and miserable. It said it was seriously concerned by the atrocities being perpetrated on them.

The commission asked Chief Secretary UPS Madan to take legal action and ensure such atrocities do not occur in future. “The NCW may be apprised of any action taken in the matter for rehabilitation and mainstreaming of victims of the reported atrocities,” NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said.

A report in The Hindu on Tuesday claimed that several women in Beed district get their uterus removed after having two or three children. Villagers said it was the norm as the menstrual cycle hinders work and attracts fines.

Most of these women are cane-cutters and migrate to the sugarcane belt of western Maharashtra between October and March. Contractors sign contracts and count the husband and wife as one unit. The couple has to pay Rs 500 per day to the contractor if any one of them takes break, the report said.