Currently in India, any form of FGM, if it is performed for non-medical reasons, is illegal.
If a woman finds the strength to report the matter to the local police – spousal abandonment remains a crime in India – they are more often than met by moral policing than the actual maintenance of the law.That’s because the law is superseded by societal ‘conventions’ relating to women and their place in society.The two brave souls who dared to avail themselves of the spirituality of Sabarimala have since gone into hiding as protesters turned Kerala into a war zone calling for the ‘purification’ of the temple.In response, millions of women formed a 620km long human chain in Kerala to demand equality.It’s overwhelming and will doubtless give more women the confidence to come out and get their voices heard. Yet the fight continues, and the only thing that requires purification is a culture that uses an ancient religion — one that is actually underpinned by its devotion to equality and femininity — to oppress its women.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still being carried out in several parts of Kerala in India, including Thiruvananthapuram, even though it is being labelled a criminal offence, it has been reported.
Elsewhere, in hospitals in more metropolitan areas such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, the procedure can be done for over 28,000 rupees.
The Muslim Youth League state general secretary P K Firoz, commented: "It is not at all an Islamic practice and it does not have the sanction of the religion.
The reason behind the ire of thousands upon thousands of men, from politicians to day labourers, is that two women – both in their 40s – had the audacity to enter Kerala’s 800-year-old Sabarimala Temple after India’s Supreme Court in September lifted a centuries-old ban on women aged 10 and 50 from entering the shrine.
According to local Hindu mythology, the deity to whom Sabarimala is dedicated – Lord Ayyappa – was celibate and so allowing access to women of ‘menstrual age’ would be disrespectful.
They are the same attitudes that continue to be passed on from one generation to the next, most alarmingly by the same mothers and grandmothers who have in their own time fallen victim to India’s patriarchy.