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Indian Government Seeks Apex Court Directions to Ban Female Genital Mutilation

© Photo : Amnon s (Amnon Shavit).A campaign against female genital mutilation
A campaign against female genital mutilation - Sputnik International
The Government of India has asked the country’s apex court to step in and ban the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by issuing relevant directives. The government has argued that the practice is a crime under prevailing laws and should be declared punishable by up to seven years in prison.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Civil rights activists demanding a ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), practiced by some communities in India, have expressed happiness over the government taking a strong stand against the "inhuman practice," while also raising concerns on the implementation aspect. 

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"Attorney General KK Venugopal has submitted in front of a bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar to step in and issue directions on the issue as the practice is punishable with imprisonment of seven years under the existing law. We are happy about the developments," leading civil rights activist Masooma Ranalvi told Sputnik.

Masooma is part of the "We Speak Out" campaign, which is spearheading the movement against FGM in India.

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The government's response to the FGM issue came on a plea seeking direction to ban FGM, known as "Khatna". The plea was filed by advocate Sunita Tihar, challenging the practice prevalent among the Dawoodi Bohra community.  

A direction on the issue from the apex court is now scheduled to come soon, as the government has submitted its position against the practice.

The activists are now hopeful of a tamper-proof implementation mechanism on the ban on the FGM practice in India.

"The crucial aspect would be the implementation and we are hopeful that along with the judgment on the case which is posted for July, we will also have an implementation mechanism which could be suggested either by the government or the court," Masooma told Sputnik.

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A study conducted by the "We Speak Out" Campaign in February last year showed the prevalence of FGM practice in India in the Bohra Muslim community. The data compiled by three independent researchers and a coalition of Bohra women against FGM shows the prevalence of FGM among India's Bohra Muslims to be as high as 75% of respondents. The respondents said they had subjected their daughters to the practice. The survey was across the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala. 

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