New Delhi: Several women from Dawoodi Bohra community, a Shia Muslim sect took up their arms against the illegal old practice of Female Genital Mutilation within the community. They have urged PM Modi to issue a statement that Female Genital Mutilation (also known as FGM, khatna or female genital cutting) is illegal in India.
Women of the Bohra community have written a letter to PM Modi asking the central government to issue an advisory to at least the state governments and asked government to declare the circumcision an offense under IPC and POSCO.
We Speak Out, an online campaign against the FGM has already taken up this issue with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which had earlier promised that this practice in the country will be banned, but the promise of the Ministry is yet to be fulfilled.
“FGM is a form of sexual violence that has deep emotional, sexual and physical consequences, with many of the consequences continuing throughout an adult woman’s life. It is time to end this harmful practice that causes pain and suffering to women and girls,” the letter states.
Masooma Ranalvi, a Delhi-based publisher and one of the women at the forefront of the movement said, “We request the PM to issue a statement to all concerned, especially the leaders of the community who protect and promote this tradition, stating that FGM/khatna is illegal so that it comes to an end”.
The Dawoodi Bohras are a two-million strong business community and they reside mostly in western cities including Mumbai.
FGM is banned in 24 African countries. Many western countries, including the United Kingdom and the US have also outlawed the practice. In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution to eliminate the practice.
In India, it is only recently that women from the community have started speaking up against the custom. Later on, non-Bohras also joined the campaign. But, except for the National Commission for Women that has backed the campaign; the government has mostly remained silent.