mid-day editorial: Cut out the brutal practice of FGM

A news report has shaken the Bohri community in Mumbai, but will hopefully go on to become a trigger for action and reform here. An Indian-origin doctor based in Detroit, USA, has been arrested for performing genital cutting, or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), on two little girls. US reports say it is the first prosecution under the law banning the brutal practice.

The doctor, Jumana Nagarwala's arrest has sent shockwaves through the Bohri community. Nagarwala is being held in jail. The complaint against her doesn't mince words, slamming khatna (FGM) as "brutal and criminal".

The Michigan case is being seen as significant by women's rights organizations. Girls who suffer this are victims of emotional and physical abuse, the US authorities state. The case should resonate here too, where opposition against khatna is growing within the community. The community needs to see this as a watershed moment, a start point to word towards finally doing away with the barbaric practice altogether.

Although we have seen increasing opposition from within the community to khatna, these rebellious voices need to be more strident and powerful. Social media plays a huge part, mostly by generating awareness about this practice, which was not openly talked about. The huge publicity that the Detroit case has generated will surely strip FGM of the veil of secrecy.

The West has shown that it will not tolerate FGM. It is a straightforward criminal practice on that goes against the laws of the land, it is as simple as that.

Here, there must be action against parents who are complicit in this crime and subject little girls to such brutality. FGM has no place in a civil society, just like the US has shown.

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