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Female genital mutilation in India: Campaign aims to initiate dialogue with Bohras on issue during Ramadan

Two Mumbai-based organisations have joined hands to create sensible discussions on khatna or female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community with a unique reach out campaign during the month of Ramadan.

Launched by Sahiyo and We Speak Out, the campaign, titled Each One Reach One 2, aims to start a sensible dialogue with at least one member of the Bohra community on the issue of female genital mutilation. The campaign, currently in its second year, will go on for a month and is aimed at promoting conversations about female genital cutting during Ramadan.

File image of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims in India. Reuters

File image of Dawoodi Bohra Muslims in India. Reuters

In February 2016, the two organisations launched the first edition of the campaign to help break the silence around the practice of Khatna in the Bohra community. "The conversations are friendly, respectful and non-judgmental that would help us all understand one another," a joint statement by the organisations read.

To make the conversation sensible, the organisations will be releasing a communication guide which will help members of the community ask open-ended questions to their near and dear ones and engage them in a meaningful conversation.

The practice of female genital mutilation of minor girls in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community has been under the scanner recently with the Supreme Court hearing a PIL on the issue. On 8 May, 2017, the Supreme Court, termed the issue of female genital mutilation as "extremely important and sensitive".

As Firstpost author Devika Agarwal says in her article,"The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines female genital mutilation as 'all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons'."

"The practice is condemned internationally on grounds that it is discriminatory and amounts to cruelty against girls," she adds.

The recent arrest of a Dawoodi Bohra doctor in the United States, on charges of female genital mutilation, has encouraged debate and introspection on the issue both within and outside the community. In India, Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi has identified the practice as illegal under existing Indian laws.

Many countries like Australia, USA and the United Kingdom have banned the practice, the Firstpost article said, adding, "There is no law in India banning FGM or Khatna to declare it illegal."

If you want to join the organisations in their efforts, contact them on info@sahiyo.com and info@wespeakout.org. The campaign is on and will go on until 26 June. For more information, check out the websites www.sahiyo.com and www.wespeakout.org.


Published Date: May 30, 2017 21:52 PM | Updated Date: May 30, 2017 21:52 PM

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