Mumbai: A non-governmental organisation (NGO) of Bohra women’s group working to end female genital mutilation (FGM, also known as ‘khatna’), launched a new campaign urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action against FGM in India on Sunday. With the help of social media, the group is spreading awareness to end FGM. Politicians made promises to change these months ago, but action has been stalled, said one of the members of We Speak Out, the NGO.
The letter was tweeted to the PM on Sunday, on the juncture of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Survivors of FGM associated with the NGO, which is practised by the many communities, have written an open letter urging him to declare FGM illegal in India.
Talking to The Asian Age, assembler Masooma Ranalvi (50), for We Speak Out said, “We have written on this matter to the Union minister of women and child development, Maneka Gandhi, six months ago but there has been no response from her side. Gandhi had assured us, that there would be a law for abolishing such practises and the government would bring in a new law to ban ‘khatna’. But an anything has moved from her desk till now so we have taken help of social media to spread a word across and make a strict law for this,” added Ms Ranalvi.
The letter written by We Speak Out, contained a plea to the Government of India to issue the advisories as promised, declaring FGM as an offence under the Indian Penal Code and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The letter also said that, “FGM is a form of sexual violence that has deep emotional, sexual and physical consequences, with many of these consequences continuing throughout an adult woman’s life. It is time to end this harmful practice that causes pain and suffering to women and girls. We urge you to issue a statement to all concerned, especially the leaders of the community who protect and promote this tradition.”