NEW DELHI : In one of the first calls to stop the barbarous practice of genetic mutilation of women, the United Nations decided to observe February 6 as a Zero Tolerance Day for Female Genetic Mutilation (FMG).

The event marks the completion of the one year movement by 17 year old Fahma Mohamad, who began the initiative to address the abhorrent practice of FGM in schools in the UK. Her campaign garnered more than 230,000 signatures on petition.

The movement gained some momentum after Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousufzai, lent her support to the cause. The then Education Secretary, Michael Gove was moved into action by the urgency of the issue and subsequently wrote to all teachers in England & Wales on the FGM.

Fahma Mahomad found a fellow crusader in Jaha Dukureh, originally from Gambia, and currently living in Atlanta, who after being inspired by former’s zeal, lobbied with the US Government to conduct a study on the prevalence of FGM for 17 years, in the country and take up measures to address that.

Dukureh,a mother of three, held her first Youth Summit in her hometown in Gambia during which she confronted her own father and the woman who mutilated her.

The ancient practice of genetic mutilation has always been turned a deaf ear to, and has been written off generally as a problem of a few barbaric communities. Famous feminist writer Germaine Greer, in the late 1990s, brought it to notice by terming it as an “attack on cultural identity”.

Attempts to the same magnitude were made by writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself made to go under the knife, who made a movie Submission in collaboration with Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, exposing this horrible practice prevalent in African Muslim communities.

The present campaign is a major step in that direction, having been subscribed to by the bigwigs of political world. In a span of mere six months from when it was launched, by July 2014, UK Prime Minister , David Cameron organised the first Girl Summit in London to tackle the FGM and forced girl marriage, while Obama administration announced a study into the consequences of the FGM and the number of girls afflicted by it.

The Guardian launched the campaign last year with activists, lobbyists, media organisations, and politicians, to bring forth the malaise of genetic mutilation, to prevent it by helping constructing laws banishing it, and making girls wake up to the sanctity of their bodies.