Conduct an intensive research on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in India

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I was just 7 years old when one day my grandmother took me to an unfamiliar and dilapidated building and three women, including my grandma, performed Khatna/Khafz (FGM/C) on me. I vividly remember the blade, the cloth, my screams and cries, and the blood on the cotton. The memory of that day still haunts me and has left a lasting scar.

FGM/C, also known as female circumcision or Khafz in my (Dawoodi Bohra) community, is a practice which is inflicted on young girls. As soon as a girl turns seven, her mother or grandmother takes her to a midwife on some false pretext and a part of her genitalia is cut using a razor or blade. The practice in my community is of type 1 FGM/C, which involves partial or complete removal of the clitoral hood and is carried out to moderate women’s sexuality among other reasons.

Many women have admitted that this has affected their sex lives adversely. Others speak of a much deeper psychological scar caused by this childhood trauma. This 14th-century-old custom, which is seen as ‘religious practice’ by my community, is tolerated even today.

The Supreme Court, recently, questioned the practice of FGM/C of minors in the Dawoodi Bohra community, saying it violates the bodily ‘integrity’ of a girl child.

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), FGM/C is classified as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and banning this practice from India will be a big step towards eradication of the practice.

Even though there have been two independent studies done by women from the Bohra community, the campaign for the elimination of FGM in India is impeded by lack of official data and hence it is of utmost importance that the government conduct research which will aid the campaign for combating the practice. 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development in India, in its affidavit filed in the Indian Supreme Court, said, “It is respectfully submitted that at present there is no official data or study (by NCRB, etc.) which supports the existence of FGM/C in India”. The Centre has told the SC that FGM violates the fundamental rights but also says that there is no data or study on FGM in India. 

That's why I started this petition to get the government to do the right thing.

Sign my petition to ask the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to conduct an intensive research study to document the prevalence of this practice and to publish this data.

You can save thousands of girls from undergoing what I went. Let’s act to eliminate this practice from our country.