Khatna Female Genital Mutilation
The preamble of the Indian Constitution recognizes India to be secular. Communities belonging to different religion reside peacefully and respect the rituals of other religion. But there are some cult practices that are performed under the shield of custom. These practices not only make the life of a person miserable but also infringes the “right to life with human dignity” enshrined in Art. 21 of Indian Constitution. One of the abusive practices is Female Genital Mutilation or Khatna which is very popular in Muslim Bohra community, though the discussion of Khatna among them is considered taboo.
The Khatna is a frustrating practice which involves a girl child of 5-7 years, who are lured by their own female relatives like mother, aunt or grandmother. In many situations they are taken to an unknown dark place where they are tied up with their legs spread. An untrained midwife, with a heated knife or blade cuts off the clitoris of the small child who then in a moment feels thunder of pain without knowing the consequence of the act. The shaving off of the clitoris results in heavy loss of blood, hemorrhage etc. as immediate consequence. The long term complication that the child has to deal with is urinary tract infection, vaginal infection, pain during menstruation, HIV and pain during sexual intercourse, infertility when attaining womanhood. With all these complications, the life of the child turns miserable.
Article 21 of Indian constitution provides for “Right to life and personal liberty”. Further it also emphasis on the woman’s right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity. The article also provides for the woman’s right to make choices of reproduction. But the infertility so caused leaves her helpless of making any choice. It is only the girl child who pays for the breach of trust done by those who are entrusted by law to be her protector.
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