In a shocking revelation, it has emerged that female genital mutilation (FGM) is still carried out in several parts of Kerala including Thiruvananthapuram, despite being labelled a criminal offence.
Asianet Newsable had recently reported that FMG is performed in some hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram in the state, based on an investigation by Sahiyo, an organisation working against the practice.
Now, reports claim that the procedure is carried out even at hospitals and clinics in Thiruvananthapuram as well, through intermediaries or agents found on several popular online forums.
FGM can reportedly be performed for around Rs 6000-8000 at top hospitals in the state capital, while the procedure can be done for just Rs 4000 at a clinic near the beach in Kozhikode. Several hospitals in Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi also perform FGM but it would cost more than Rs 28,000 in these metropolitan areas.
Any form of FGM, if performed for non-medical reasons, is illegal under Indian law, but it continues to be practised surreptitiously.
The Kozhikode clinic is allegedly infamous for performing FGM at low costs. Reports claim that newly wed women, accompanied by mother-in-laws, visit the clinic to have the procedure. Doctors and staff at the clinic allegedly advise them that the procedure is healthy and improves women's sex lives.
FGM, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual involving cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Known as 'sunnath' or 'khatna' in Kerala, FGM is inflicted often on children who are as young as six. Sometimes carried out by untrained midwives, the procedure is also believed to curb a woman’s sexual drive.
FGM started as a 14th century custom in some African communities and is currently banned in 24 African countries. Many western countries, including the UK and the US have strict laws against the practice.