To many, the term Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) would be spine-chilling and unknown, akin to how it was to me until almost a year ago when I came across a video on a YouTube channel that talked about female circumcision in Sub-Saharan areas. Stupefied enough, I couldn’t sleep much that night. The next day, when I searched regarding its prevalence in India, I find articles that mentioned only some parts of Kerala still practising FGM.
Lately, there was a debate regarding the issue on an Instagram page. I then also had a discussion with a batchmate wherein we stuck at the point: ‘Is it prevalent in India?’ And we all, though unwilling, went through the hair standing topic again. Mind you, it’s a topic for us, but an excruciating trauma for millions. But what is it exactly about? And why are we so unknown to it?
Well, if you know the term, you’d find on the internet many articles, detailed studies, a couple of case profiles, and an Indian organisation working for the issue. But now that you’re here currently, let me mention what FGM is in brief points, along with certain links that will speak of those controversial terms that I may not be able to mention here as a lone writer.
Extensively practised in Sub-Saharan regions, and the Arab States, this practice is also prevalent and declared illegal in some parts of Europe and Asia, except India, where the cases might be silent and comparatively less, but find no route to its abolition in the law any soon. Within India, there might be districts in Kerala, Maharashtra and a few other close states where the practise continues, and the cries dry behind curtains; while the extensive blood fails to flow the fear and pain to the outside world.
While the UN agencies explain it as a human right violation, there are certain nations such as the UK, USA, Sudan, etc. wherein the practice is a criminal offence, a form of child abuse, and thus, there have been red-handedly caught criminals as well. However, in India, despite the past affirmations of former Ministers of Women and Child Development, there is currently no acknowledgement of the practice, and thereby, no law.
While case profiles and reports of law students and organisations are continuously pushing for laws against the practice, and there have been PILs, especially the one around five years ago by 18 women. As a political science student (Class 12), I saw less scope of any immediate address on the issue. Also, given its secrecy, denial and lack of data in the nation, it is tougher to present the case to the guards of the Constitution. The same reason stands for us being unknown of it. Well, sometimes as an urban teenager, I feel I am privileged enough to be ignorant to certain fundamental pains, anytime, that I wish to shut my eyes off to the World.
Well, coming back, though, there might be chances of provisions from the Penal Code and POCSO being evoked; what actually needs to be done, is:
The practice would probably still continue. This article will also remain as just another on the Internet. But if you talk about it today, unabashedly, to at least a few people, and encourage them to do the same, the public outrage some years later may tear the curtains, break the blades, and save the young girls!