mid day editorial: Need to make FGM about women's rights

Published: Feb 08, 2019, 07:55 IST | mid-day online correspondent

It is interesting that the women seek to escalate the anti-FGM movement into a political issue in the year of the polls

mid day editorial: Need to make FGM about women's rights

A group of Bohra Muslim women on Wednesday urged political parties to take steps to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) prevalent in the Bohri community and make the issue part of their poll manifestos.

The women gave the call on the 'International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation', falling on February 6. The United Nations has dubbed the practice as a violation of human rights. It is interesting that the women seek to escalate the anti-FGM movement into a political issue in the year of the polls.

A section of the community has put its foot on the gas pedal in its efforts to eradicate the reprehensible practice. They are facing huge challenges though. FGM supporters have now organised themselves into a group saying they support the practice and are reaching out for media interaction for visibility to combat the anti-FGM narrative.

The new thrust then is a welcome and interesting one as the anti-FGM group seeks more arsenal in its battle against this tradition. Political parties could certainly look at including this FGM as Save the Girl Child is such a hot button issue.

Yet, we must be careful to make a distinction between making this a political issue and politicising it. The former is recommended. The latter is usually lip service to a cause and creating schisms between communities and people.

Take the anti-FGM battle seriously and address the issue. Having this on the poll manifesto will give it great voice, visibility and catapult it into the bracket of women's dignity and rights.

Till now, even with the court case, it is still seen as a peripheral issue. This would certainly be taking it to the next level. It must be done with proper thought, caution and great conviction. Take a stand that this is not about this political party or that, not about any particular community. This is a practice that violates little girls and needs to be stopped. Poll manifestos must state that simply and effectively.

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