NGO evolves blueprint to end female genital mutilation

A report on the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) released on Tuesday looks at the psychological trauma and physical scars faced by the victims, and the legal aspects that could be weaved in to stop the practice completely.

Compiled by Speak Out on FGM, a group of Dawoodi Bohra women who are victims of khatna, as the practice is known in the community, along with a human rights NGO, Lawyers Collective, the report looks at the Indian gender laws as well as international laws that could help as a framework when India drafts its own law.

Last week, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi made a strong statement on the government’s intention to bring a law to ban the practice if the community does not stop it voluntarily.

Banned in many nations

Khatna, as practised among Dawoodi Bohras, involves cutting the part of the clitoral hood or the prepuce, of girls as young as seven years. While a large number of countries have banned the practice, India does not have a law on the same.

“Our report is like a blueprint on the legal aspects of khatna. When we have to make a law, this report will help in drafting the same,” said Masooma Ranalvi, convener of Speak Out On FGM, adding that the 57-page report drafted over six months takes a detailed look at the existing laws in India and international laws against FGM in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France and Africa.

“We have explored aspects like protection of informer and punitive action that can be initiated etc. We have also looked in detail at the whole argument about freedom of religion,” said Ms. Ranalvi, who first started a signature campaign in 2015 that has today garnered 90,000 signatures.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising of Lawyers Collective said that this is for the first time that FGM was being talked about openly. “Now it is up to the Women and Child Development ministry to demonstrate its commitment towards the rights of women. We do expect support from the government,” she told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 3:03:28 AM |

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