Mumbai’s Dawoodi Bohra women to SC: Khatna is essential to our faith

Updated on Jul 10, 2018 03:06 PM IST

On the one hand are those who claim it’s an integral part of their faith; on the other are survivors who argue that the practice is damaging, violates the rights of the girl child.

On Monday, a Supreme Court bench heard public interest litigations demanding a law against FGM.(HT File Photo)
On Monday, a Supreme Court bench heard public interest litigations demanding a law against FGM.(HT File Photo)
Hindustan Times | ByYesha Kotak, Mumbai

A petition seeking to ban female genital mutilation (FGM), known as “khafz” or “khatna”, has put a long-standing divide in the Bohri Muslim community in the spotlight with the Mumbai-based Dawoodi Bohra Women’s Association for Religious Freedom (DBWRF) filing for an impleadment that FGM should not be banned.

On one hand are those who claim it’s an integral part of their faith while on the other are survivors who argue that the practice is damaging and violates the rights of the girl child.

On Monday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud heard public interest litigations (PILs) – two by Bohri women and one by advocate Sunita Tiwari – demanding a law against FGM on the grounds that it violates the child rights of Bohri Muslim girls.

Senior lawyer Indira Jaisingh, appearing for Tiwari, said FGM amounted to a crime under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which protects minors from sexual assaults.

Opposing the PILs is the Mumbai-based group Dawoodi Bohra Women’s Association for Religious Freedom (DBWRF), which filed an impleadment application in the Supreme Court on Monday stating that female genital cutting (FGC) is integral to their religious and cultural beliefs and should not be banned.

“The question is if one does not want it, can it be compulsorily imposed?” asked the Chief Justice.

“Why should the bodily integrity of a woman be subject to some external authority? One’s genitals are an extremely private affair,” said Justice Chandrachud.

DBWRF claims to have the support of more than 60,000 women and wants the PILs to be heard by a five-judge constitutional bench.

“The practice of khafz is essential part of the religion for our community, and is thus protected under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India (which speaks about the right to practice and propagate religion). Since, it is protected under the Constitution, international treaties and conventions cannot apply in this case,” said Samina Kanchwala, secretary, DBWRF.

Kanchwala said khafz as practised by Bohri Muslims was different from FGM, as it is “just a nick on the clitoral hood”.

“There is no denying that FGC is different from FGM, and has been defined as Type-1 cutting, but the practice is neither necessary nor practical and has harmful effects on the survivors,” said Aarefa Johri, co-founder, Sahiyo, a non-governmental organisation that has been campaigning to end the practice. The next hearing is on July 16.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia at his residence during a CBI raid in connection with alleged irregularities in Delhi Excise Policy on Friday. (ANI)

    In Delhi, 12 IAS officers transferred hours after CBI raid on Manish Sisodia

    In a minor bureaucratic reshuffle, 12 IAS officers were transferred within the Delhi government on Friday, hours after a CBI raid at the residence of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of the excise policy. The reshuffle, however, is not connected to the raids, an official aware of the development said. A 2007-batch IAS officer, Vijendra Singh Rawat will also hold the additional charge of director (planning).

  • Several people in Lucnowl felt the tremor and came out of their houses in the wee hours of Saturday (Representative Image)

    Tremors felt in Lucknow as earthquake of 5.2 magnitude hits UP capital

    Tremors were felt in Lucknow in the wee hours of Saturday as a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit the state capital. According to the National Centre for Seismology, the earthquake occurred at 1.12am on Saturday and lasted for nearly 5 to 8 seconds. The National Centre for Seismology in a tweet said the city's north-northeast area witnessed the most impact. Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 3.1 on Friday.

  • In a crackdown on multiple cases, Bengaluru police have nabbed persons for fake land documents, theft and more. (Image source: K.S.LAYOUT TRAFFIC BTP/Twitter)

    Bengaluru crime watch: 12 in net for wheeling, dacoity, theft and more

    In some of the recent crime news from Bengaluru, police have arrested accused in cases relating to fake documents, theft and wheeling between Thursday - Friday. August 19 Anoop A Shetty, the DCP of Bengaluru's north east division, shared on social media that a person has been arrested by police for creating fake land documents to cheat unsuspecting individuals. August 19 The officer, Anoop Shetty, also revealed another development in Bengaluru's Chikkajala area.

  • File image of people riding on a swing in a carnival.

    Madras Day 2022: Chennai turns 383, celebrations at Elliot’s beach

    Chennai Day 2022: The Greater Chennai Corporation is organising Madras Day celebrations at Elliot's Beach in Besant Nagar as Chennai turns 383 years on Saturday. The celebrations will be held in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry. The entry to the two-day celebration event will commence on Saturday at 3:30 pm.

  • Massive crowd at Bankey Bihari temple in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

    Janmashtami: 2 die of suffocation at Mathura's Bankey Bihari temple

    At least two people died of stampede and suffocation, while several people were taken to the hospital at the Bankey Bihari temple in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura during midnight celebrations of Janmashtami. Thousands of devotees thronged the famous Banke Bihari to offer prayers and participate in the rituals, leaving very little room to breathe. The incident happened at around 2am during Mangla Arti at the temple. Devotees were seen dancing in the midnight celebrations.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now