Few months back I read an article written by Harinder Baweja in Hindustan Times,that has shaken every bit of me. The article talk about cruel practice of Female Genital Mutilation that is still prevalent in suburbs of Mumbai and has spread roots across Muslim community.
Though after being brought on the center front by astonished petitioners & activists. The honorable Supreme Court has issued notice to four ministries on a petition seeking ban on FGM. The bench advocated the procedure to ban, stating the barbaric act not only puts a woman’s health in danger but also violates her right to her body.
Despite this, to everyone’s surprise this Khatna, a secret inhumane practice has been reported in the most literate state of India- Kerala.
Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) or Female Circumcision
It comprises all procedures that involves complete or partial removal of female external genitelia including clitoris, for non-medical reasons.
The deepening roots of FGM & gigantic spread can be traced by this WHO report that announces:-
“More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated.”
Untill now In India, only the Dawoodi Bohra community was belived to be practicing this ancient FGM technique. But a recent investigation by Aarefa Johari and Aysha Mahmood from Sahiyo, a collective brave fighters against Female Genital Mutilation, revealed that a community in Kerala has been following this practice as well from a really long time.
Sahiyo– (an Ngo that works against women genital slaying), found a medical clinic in Kozhikode (Calicut) where two doctors accepted that they perform the procedure of ‘sunnath’, or external genital cutting, on both boys and girls. The investigation was conducted when Sahiyo got a tip about the clinic.
They admitted that the practice by these doctors involved cutting of clitoris hood, that classified as FGM/C type 1 by WHO. World Health Organization after decades of surveys, investigations and reports have classified Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting into 4 types and this Type 1 being least severe & most popular.
This inhumane practice that force young girls aged 6-9 years to undergo shrieking pain just because of ILL-BELIEF that has been transferred from older women in family to younger women and so on. After recording so many interviews and reports it has been noticed the procedure is just a taboo –a ritual- a tradition.
Finding answer to why it is practiced, we can only come up with:-
The beliefs that the clitoral head is ‘unwanted skin’, that it is a ‘source of sin’ that will make them ‘stray’ out of their marriages are reasons that lie at the heart of a practice that predates Islam but thrives amongst Bohra Community has been propagating to other communities too with different myths and reasons. An old women has reportedly referred to the clitoral head as ‘haraam ki boti’ or immoral lump of flesh.
This is barbaric and deepening its root with varied reasons and belief- getting transferred from community to other like endemic.
It is a horrifying crime against women and need to stop this by educating and supporting initiatives like Sahiyo.