Female Genital Mutilation: A Yearning for Culpability in India

Must Read

Dear PM Modi, Are you telling Muslims to leave India?

Today I called my housemaid in India and inquired about her well-being. Her first response was: ‘Ye log Musalaman...

Re-establishing Diplomatic Ties between India and Libya

In view of the prevailing travel ban to Libya by the government of India imposed in 2016, the Union...

Haj Subsidy Ban and Secular Character of Constitution

For long, the Indian state has practiced the unconstitutional sin of opting for Haj subsidy to continue. For long,...

Instant Triple Talaq and Criminalization of it: Stifling the Rights of Individuals

What instant Triple talaq is to ‘Muslim wives’, criminalization of it is to ‘Muslim husbands’. The former has been sacredly...

Taj Mahal in Storm of History and Propaganda

The radiance of Taj Mahal, at the moment, is blurred not by deterioration in climatic conditions but by the...

Celebrating Festival with the Natives

The experience of being a part of the celebration of Diwali in India still enthralls me very much. As a...

Follow us

A girl was happy that today her mother offered to take her to the movies. This 7-year old girl was excited as this was her first movie in a long time. She left the house hoping to have a great time with her mother. Soon, she senses something amiss. Her mother led her into a building that in no way resembled a theatre but looked like dilapidated remains of a building she seen in the movies. However, she was far from scared as she had all she needed to be safe- her mother. Soon they enter a dark room, and she held her mother’s hand more firmly. Now, the mother asks her to lay down on the floor. She was petrified and clueless as to what to expect next, yet she obediently laid down. Soon, she realizes that she could not move her arms as they are firmly held down by two middle-aged women, who are standing right over her head. She can feel that someone was taking off her underwear. She asked them to stop, as she was uncomfortable. Her resistance grew with the commencement of experiences which would haunt her for the rest of her life. Suddenly a familiar voice falls onto her ears, asking her to trust her, and promising that she won’t hurt her. With great difficulty and prowess, they manage to hold her little body still. Just when she was screaming with all her might hoping that the intensity of her voice would melt their heart, it became impossible for her to utter a single word. But none come to her rescue. She felt an unbearable pain between her legs, one she never has or will experience in her lifetime. The ceiling before her eyes began to fade out as the pain was overpowering her whole body. The blades that pierced throughout her clitoris caused an excruciating pain that will clinch her body and soul for her entire lifetime. She experienced one more pain along with the unbearable pain inflicted by the blade, the pain of being betrayed.

The above scenario describes the experience of girls subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. While the International community and various nations have been enacting laws and opening up discussion about this inhumane procedure practised largely on minor girls, India has turned a blind eye towards it. With no specific legislation in place denouncing the practice, it has become a custom within the Bohra community in India.

What is FGM?

Female Genital Mutilation entails clipping of clitoris, a part of a women’s vagina. The practice, otherwise known as ‘khatna’ or ‘khafz’ in the Muslim Bohra community, is deeply rooted in the patriarchal need to keep a check on female sexual desires. The community considers clitoris, as ‘haraam ki boti‘ or ‘source of sin’. Thus, to avoid any disgrace, the community or family performs the procedure of FGM on minor girls, before they become sexually active.

Why is it problematic?

The quality of medical care and procedure during and after then the marring of female genitals is abysmal. Due to the taboo around the whole issue, this takes place in clandestinely, headed by unqualified mid-wives using unsterilised blades and sanitary pads as their medical supplies. The absence of anaesthesia subjects girls to an intolerable physical pain during and after the procedure. While the physical pain debilitates over time, the mental pain lasts forever for the girls.

The decision to perform FGM on minor girls is taken by their parents or guardians. Consent of parents to perform such a procedure which is without any medical benefits, is a product of social pressure, religious beliefs and constitutes an of

FGM in India

An organisation formed by Bohra women called ‘WeSpeakOut’ along with another women’s organisation called ‘Nari Samata Manch’ have evinced the blatant and rampant practice of FGM within the Bohra community. Their study titled “The Clitoral Hood A Contested Site”, revealed that 75% of 94 respondents interviewed had subjected their daughters to FGM. An alarming rate of 94% of the girls/women undergone FGM recalled it as ‘being very painful’. This study is consequential as it refutes the Indian government’s claim about the absence of data indicating the prevalence of FGM in India.

Legal Consequences

The practice constitutes an offence under Sections 321 to 326 of the IPC that concern with voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt. As the victims include minor girl child, POCSO Act, an legislation protecting children from the sexual offence will be applicable. Sections 3 (penetrative sexual assault), 5 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and 9 (aggravated sexual assault) which entail imprisonment of up to life term, will be applied in the cases of FGM, provided it is reported. An absence of specific legation prohibiting FGM and the lack of legal literacy perpetuates a false notion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the customary practice of FGM. It is to consider a crime by the communities practising it. Thus, such incidents go unreported.

Additionally, no amount of religious freedom guaranteed under the Constitution of India permits the non-interference of State and allow the practice of FGM to continue. The Rights of life of women will always take precedence with pitted against the Religious freedom of any community to practise FGM.

This is a serious violation of child rights. Child is individuals of society that are entitled to basic human rights like equality, life, dignity, among others. Even the consent of the guardians is immaterial as FGM violates the Right to life of children, guaranteed by the virtue of Article 21 of the Constitution.

FGM and International Community

The International Community has been fighting the inhumane and barbaric practice of Female genital mutilation since the last decade. India, a party of the CEDAW convention has long failed to the acknowledge and ban the diabolic custom.

26 African nations and the Middle East have enacted a legislation to ban the practice of FGM decree. The United Nations has declared FGM a Human Right Violation and declared 6th February as ‘International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’.


The need of the hour is the acknowledge the abundantly obvious prevalence of the practice of FGM in India. Also, it must be realised that the present legal framework is inadequate to protect the human right of minor girls and women, who are victims of FGM. The voices of women subjected to FGM are first silenced by the community and then by the State. Introduction of a specific litigation banning FGM in India, providing adequate legal redressal and protection of victims of FGM is of paramount importance. Such a legation will bring out a social awakening in the society and opening up conversations about the not so innocuous practice of FGM.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Delhi High Court Temporarily Restrains Vintage Moments’ Alcohol Sale in Case of Trademark Infringement

The manufacturers of the Alcohol Brand Magic Moments had filed a suit. The Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining the manufacturing, marketing,...

NGT Red-Flags Kaleshwaram Project: Green Clearance Violated the Law, Halt Work

Excerpt The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, dated 20th October 2020, directed the Telangana government to stop all work, except the drinking water component...

There Can Be No Leniency Shown To Appellant Who Pleaded To Reduce Sentence: Delhi High Court

Facts On 25.2.2016 the victim’s sister who was 13 years old was present with her sister who was 2 years old (victim) at their home....

Violation of Executive Instructions Cannot Be Sole Ground to Invalidate Transfer Orders: Tripura High Court

In Dr Bithika Choudhury vs the State of Tripura & Ors., a Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice S. Talapatra and Hon’ble Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay...

Case Regarding Anticipatory Bail, Applicant May Be Released Imposing Suitable Conditions: Gujarat High Court

A Single-Judge Bench of Gujarat High Court consisting of Honourable Dr Justice A.P. Thakur had been hearing submissions of the Applicant to release him...

Proof of Infliction of Fatal Injury Not Mandatory for Conviction Under Section 307, IPC: Tripura High Court

In the case of Mamin Miah vs the State of Tripura, a Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice S. Talapatra and Hon’ble Justice S....

Bombay High Court Pursues Case Alleging Media Trial, Says NBSA Guidelines Must Be Toothed by Centre

Amid the pleas alleging media trials, the Division Bench had been hearing submissions of the News Broadcasters’ Authority (NBA). It prayed that severe restrictions...

Himachal Pradesh High Court Supports Promotion Based on Seniority of Post Rather Based on the Eligibility Test

In the case of Ramesh Chand Versus State of Himachal Pradesh & Others, the petitioner, reached the court as he was aggrieved by the...

NCDRC Dismisses PIL against Urologist, Holy Family Hospital, Says Mode Of Treatment Or Skill Differs From Doctor To Doctor

The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) dismissed a petition against Holy Family Hospital and a Urologist, alleging negligence in diagnosing the septicemia and...

Himachal Pradesh High Court Disposes Suit for Possession and Permanent Prohibitory Injunction Due To Mutual Consent

In the case of Parveen Kumar vs Smt. Vijay Laxmi and Ors, the Petitioner, Parveen had filed a suit for declaration, possession and a permanent prohibitory...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -