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A day after the Supreme Court declared the practice of triple talaq unconstitutional and banning it from the country, voices against another female atrocity in the Muslim community are on the rise with one Bohra woman sending an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to ban the practice of 'Khatna' (Female Genital Mutilation).
Just like triple talaq, female genital mutilation has also been a conflicted subject in the Muslim community. While the country recognises and has even ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child, which terms the practice as "inhuman" and violation of girl child's rights the practice is largely followed by various Muslim communities.
Female genital mutilation or Khatna is the ritual cutting or removal of women's external genitalia, typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using blades between the birth of the girl child to puberty.
The procedure depends on the country or ethnic group, but it basically includes the removal of clitoris hood to the removal of the inner and outer labia as well as closure of vulva.
Apart from India, the practice is also found in other Asian countries as well as Africa and the Middle East. Although most of the countries have outlawed or banned the procedure, the laws are poorly enforced. There have also been international efforts to abandon the procedure with the United States even calling upon health care providers to stop performing it.
According to reports, there are no known benefits of the procedure and is only done in an attempt to control women's sexuality and enforce the ideas of purity, modesty and beauty. The procedure is initially executed by women, who see it as a source of honour, and fear, failing which will expose their daughters to social exclusion.
Although there are no health issues, poorly executed procedures can cause infections, chronic pain, development of cyst, infertility, complications during childbirth, and fatal bleeding, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow.
The procedure is still not exclusively banned in the country, a plea is already in the country's top court seeking to ban the procedure. In May 2017, the Supreme Court sought the government's response on the same plea.
The BJP government's stand on the issue as clear as the party has always been pushing for the uniform civil code. In May itself, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Menaka Gandhi told a media outlet that her department will write to the communities to voluntarily give up the practice otherwise the government will bring in a law banning the procedure.