End Female Genital Mutilation in the Bohra Community #EndFGM

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Suraiya, now 70, remembers only vaguely what was done to her private parts as a child – she just says it was very painful and traumatic. When asked about FGM, she remembers her mother taking her to a lady who must have been a midwife - that’s all. When asked if this was practice was acceptable or correct, she says that it is a custom and has been mandatorily followed by all Bohras to curb the sexual desires of women.

Thankfully, Umi, her daughter was saved from this physical and mental agony. But not all women are so lucky.

As a woman and as a conscientious citizen of India, our heart goes out to all our sisters of the Bohra community who have undergone this shameful, brutal and regressive practice, done without proper anaesthesia or medical supervision. The scars of this barbaric practice sometimes lead to lifelong repercussions for women, and they are unable to live and enjoy a normal life.

FGM involves the cutting of the genitals (clitoral hood) of a girl child usually below the age of seven.

World Health Organisation has declared FGM as a serious human rights violation and an act of child abuse. It has also highlighted the severe and irreparable damage caused by this cutting and the physical, psycho-sexual and emotional scars due to this practice.

More recently, during a hearing of the case on FGM in the Supreme Court of India, Honourable Justice Dipak Mishra said that FGM is a violation of the bodily integrity of a woman.

Sign our petition to ask His Holy Highness, Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the leader of the Bohra Community on his visit to Indore to liberate the women of the community from the violent practice of FGM. 

Although the matter is already in the Apex Court, if the directive to end FGM comes from the spiritual head of the Bohra community, it will be easier to put an end to this violent practice. The Government of India’s WCD Ministry has said that FGM is in clear contravention of our laws, the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).

As concerned citizens of India, we feel, it is a practice that affects all of us. The shame and secrecy that shroud FGM needs to be challenged. No child should have to undergo this pain and trauma – a clear case of child abuse!

There is a significant presence of the Bohra Community especially in Indore and other parts of Madhya Pradesh. We, the women of Indore, on behalf of the Bohra women call upon all conscientious citizens, to support our petition to put an end to this primitive painful practice. 

Sign this petition to ask Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin to declare an end to FGM! The time is now.

Dr Ranjana Sehgal and Ms Umi Saran, Petitioners