A group of women belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra community, who underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), have launched a petition seeking people’s support to abolish the practice. The online petition, aimed at rooting out this ancient practice was launched by an advocacy group known as ‘Speak Out on FGM’ on Change.org on Thursday ahead of the International Human Rights Day, being observed today.
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It would be submitted to the wing of United Nations that deals with the welfare of women and child, said a senior associate with the group. This group had earlier launched a similar petition in the month of December last year which has received over 80,000 responses so far and was submitted to Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi.
“Our main objective to make at least everyone aware about this age-old practice being observed in our country since last 1400 years which in not only shameful but is unconstitutional and utterly violates human rights,” said Masooma Ranalvi, a 50-year-old working woman from Delhi.
“I have no hesitation in admitting that I was subjected to FGM at a very young age, but I have ensured that my daughter, who is now 22, does not undergo this brutality,” said Ranalvi, adding even today over 80 per cent of the Bohra girls are subjected to this “hurtful” tradition.
A senior associate of the group from Pune Shabnam Poonawala said, “Though this is practiced in US and Canada too, but their respective governments have brought laws to curb this evil. But unfortunately, no one speaks about this here, forget bringing a law for it.”
“We want the government to acknowledge it and stand behind us. Promulgate a law to flush out this regressive ritual from the society,” said Poonawala, also president of the University Women’s Association (UWA), a non-profit organisation (NGO) working towards empowering women.
In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution on banning FGM. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.