In a horrific incident, a minor girl in Egypt died after Female Genital mutilation (FGM), also called ‘khatna’ procedure was illegally performed on her. The Egypt police have now taken the girl’s parents and aunt into four-day custody. They have also detained the retired doctor who illegally performed the banned procedure on the minor, in his private clinic.
One 12-year-old, Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud was taken by her parents, uncle and aunt to a private clinic in Manflout, located in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut, where she underwent the illegal procedure, also known as female circumcision, the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
After the procedure, the girl was brought back home. Soon after her condition started to deteriorate, with the child complaining of excessive bleeding and pain. Her parents then rushed her back to the clinic where the retired doctor had illegally performed the circumcision on the child.
“After she left, she suffered complications. The doctor tried to save her, but she passed away,” said the statement, pledging “firm action” against anyone carrying out the procedure in the future.
The retired doctor (70), who identified himself as “Ali AA”, was allegedly carrying out these surgeries illegally in his private clinic. He reportedly carried out the procedure on this 12-year-old without anaesthesia, without a nurse present and without any qualifications as a surgeon, according to local prosecutors. He claimed the family brought the girl to him for “plastic surgery” on her genitals.
The girls family reportedly admitted that they knew they were taking the child to undergo FGM and that her mother and aunt had allegedly stayed in the room during the procedure.
This incident has sparked outrage, with Women’s and children’s rights groups in Egypt urging prosecution in the case.
Egyptian authorities have struggled for years to eradicate this illegal practice. Despite the 2008 ban and new laws in 2016 criminalising it and attracting a jail term up to 7 years, this illegal practice, which is still considered a religious practice by few sections of the Islamic community, is still carried out exponentially in Egypt. According to a 2016 survey, 87 per cent of women and girls in Egypt are circumcised.
In India also, almost 90 per cent of women belonging to the Bohra Muslim community undergo the painful practice at 7-8 years of age. The FGM is almost always performed by women of the community or non-medically trained midwives. It not only causes pain and humiliation risking the hygiene and health of the girl but also causes a lasting memory of the ordeal, adding to long-term trauma.
In 2018, the Modi government has sought a complete ban on this practice maintaining that no girl child should undergo such trauma in the name of religion. Then Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of the Dawooodi Bohra Women’s Association for Religious Freedom, had argued in favour of the practice.
He stated that the Bohra community practises female circumcision and it is a 1000-year-old practice. He further added that it is an essential and integral practice for the community based on religious grounds.