Research shows 75% incidence of female genital mutilation in Bohra Muslim community, despite government claim there is no evidence of the practice
Just weeks after the Indian government declared that there was no data to support the existence of female genital mutilation in the country, a small study has shown a 75% incidence across the Bohra Muslim community.
“My mum told me that a lady would come to remove some extra skin from down there. When the day came, my great-grandmother was holding me tight on her bed,” said 26-year-old “SH”, a law student cited in the report, recalling how she had been cut at the age of seven.
She remembers “sitting on the toilet, crying of unbearable pain, too scared to even pee”. Her mother had reassured her that “everyone in the building has undergone this procedure”, referring to the blocks of flats in Byculla, in the heart of Mumbai, where the Bohra Muslim community has lived for decades.
Her account and those of 83 women and 11 men across five Indian states are included in the first-ever study about female genital mutilation (FGM) in India, compiled by three independent researchers and a coalition of Bohra women against FGM.
The qualitative research, which was released in February, shows the prevalence of FGM among India’s Bohra Muslims – 75% of respondents said they had subjected their daughters to the practice. The survey was conducted with respondents in communities across the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Kerala.