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Govt using Female Genital Mutilation for political gains?

After the Modi government promulgated an ordinance to ban triple talaq, it is now waiting for the Supreme Court verdict on a petition challenging the abolition of female genital mutilation (FGM) among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. If the apex court delivers the verdict to ban female genital mutilation, then it will give a shot in the arm of the government. The government is already keen to convert the triple talaq ordinance into an act and woo the Muslim community.

Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said, “We should look at this issue from both the sides. The Bohra community is practising female genital mutilation to maintain hygiene. Therefore, the honourable court has to decide that small kids should not suffer due to female genital mutilation. So I think there is a need to have a balanced view of this. We have never exploited this issue for political gains.”

The government has been trying to lure the Dawoodi Bohra community. Already Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Dawoodi Bohra Community head Syed Mufaddal Saifuddin at Saifee Mosque in Indore. Female genital mutilation is a practice which is inflicted on young girls aged six or seven-year-old. The untrained wives carry out this practice which involves cutting of women’s clitoral hood in the belief that it will curb a women’s sexual drive.

Activist Firoze Mithiborwala said, “Female genital mutilation is illegal, so we expect that it should be banned. It is already banned in Australia, Britain, and America. The Dawoodi Bohra community too is supporting the government to ban FGM. BJP is trying to delay the proceedings to ban female genital mutilation because the party is having a connection with Sydena.”

BJP is least bothered about the welfare of the Muslim community but wants to use the triple talaq and female genital mutilation issues to reap political dividends ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. By bringing these issues on the forefront, the government is also keen to divert people’s attention from rising unemployment, inflation, falling rupee, and fuel price hike. A group of Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community members had earlier told the Supreme Court that the female circumcision is practiced by a few sects of Islam, including the Dawoodi Bohra community, and the validity of this be examined, if at all, by a larger constitution bench.

Zamir Khan, Rehmani Group North Mumbai President said, “Female circumcision is prohibited, regardless of whether it is performed in the hospital, public, or private health clinic. The performance of female circumcision is not permitted except in cases of medical necessity which is to be determined by the head of the Women’s Disease and Birth department of the hospital and based on the recommendations of the patient’s doctor. We don’t practice this in Islam. Therefore, I don’t think BJP can sweep all votes.”

The Supreme Court had remarked that the female genital mutilation is a clear violation of a woman’s bodily integrity as laid down in the Indian Constitution.  Earlier it was considered as a taboo to discuss female genital mutilation but now women are coming forward to raise their voice against this issue. Even though the United Nations had declared female genital mutilation as a human rights violation, it is yet to be banned in India. Last year Dawoodi Bohra women had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare Female Genital Mutilation as illegal.

Fatima Nupur, a housewife told AV, “Female Khatna is a sad truth to this painful process and the fact is that it is a practice being done to women by other women. Mothers drag their daughters mercilessly to get their genitals mutilated in the name of Islam. By the time I realised that I am also a victim of the same mindless tradition.”

“I became marriageable, now dragging my daughter to this pain is just not possible for me but the men of the house force me. I was aware that there is a thing called Khatna and the main intention is to curb sexual desire, but you can’t stop your Man’s desire for the same, it’s a cruel practice of marital rape too,” she added.

Female genital mutilation is against the “U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which is India is a signatory,” the plea said, adding the practice caused “permanent disfiguration to the body of a girl child.” The inhuman practice of female genital mutilation is not only happening in Africa but is prevalent in India too.

A girl from the Dawoodi Bohra Community on the condition of anonymity said, “It is a religious matter hence, I can’t comment on it. Female genital mutilation has been practised since ages.”


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