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Female genital mutilation: Mumbai women narrate their suffering, seek ban on practice

FGM is a process which involves removal or cutting of skin from the clitoral hood of women

mumbai Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:52 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,female,genital mutilation
(From left) Insiya, Samina, Fatema, and Aarefa address the audience on Friday. (Satish Bate/HT)

Four women from the Dawoodi Bohra community spoke at a public forum in Andheri, on Friday, about their experience pertaining to female genital mutilation (FGM).

“I have forgotten what happened to me, but can’t forget what happened to my daughter. Even today, she cries after contracting urinary tract infection and I cry with her,” read Plabita Borthakur of Lipstick Under my Burkha fame, while narrating Samina’s story.

Samina, a mother of 10, regrets performing khatna (circumcision), as the Bohras refer to the custom, on her daughter despite repeated warnings from her mother. “During my time, we were taken to midwives. Today, in hushed tones, mothers discuss taking their daughters to a general physicians,” Samina said.

A 64-year-old woman, whose story was read by veteran theatre actor Dolly Thakore, said she was scared to take her granddaughter inside the room where her khatna was to be performed.

“I don’t know why they do this. It is a bad practice and should be stopped at once,” the elderly woman said.

Insiya, whose story was read by model Sobhita Dhulipala, said though she was treated like a son in an educated family, she felt violated.

“When forcefully touching a child is considered child sexual abuse, isn’t the practice [FGM] similar to the crime ? Why didn’t my mother realise that she would later regret having taken me for khatna,” Dhulipala read.

The youngest woman, 19-year-old Fatema, on whom FGM was performed, questioned the logic of hygiene given for justifying the practice. “How is the practice hygienic when dirty blade and cotton is used?” Fatema said.

Insia Dariwala, co-founder of NGO Sahiyo, said women have suffered in silence but the time has come for them to speak up.

“Not only the Bohra community, but there are many other communities which have violated women and children in the name of culture. There is a need to stand up against the practice,” said .

FGM is a process which involves removal or cutting of skin from the clitoral hood of women, at the age of seven. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it has no known health benefits and the procedure may cause several immediate and long-term health consequences.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 23:52 IST