NEW DELHI: A group of women have started a campaign via an online petition to end the ritual of female genetic mutilation. The women from India have addressed the petition to Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and child Development, and the two ministries of Law & Justice and Health & Safety.

Masooma Ranalvi, the 49 year old organizer of the campaign, herself was mutilated when she was just seven years old. The tradition is usually associated with the tribes of North Africa but there are other sects which secretly have been believed to be engaged in it.

One such sect is the Dawoodi Bohra community, a very close knit community of around one million Shia Muslims, concentrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat, to which Ranalvi belongs.

“The practice of FGM is done in a clandestine manner to all the girl children in our community The alleged reason for this tradition is to curb the sexual drive of women and control them”, she says.

“The Dawoodi Bohras are amongst the most educated in India, yet we are also the only Muslim community in India to practice FGM. The practice has nothing to do with religion and is more of a cultural practice,” reads the petition filed by Ranalvi.

The document was posted early in December on and is up for signing.

Many countries, in which there were sects known to be keeping this ritual alive, have banned the practice. In Africa alone, 20 countries have outlawed it acknowledging that not only the mutilation is done against the consent of the girls, its consequences also can be far-fetched and sick.

As the petition reckons further, “FGM is often done without anesthesia, without medical supervision and sometimes the procedure goes horribly wrong… It often leads to pain, shock, tetanus, genital sores, excessive bleeding, etc. It also has long-lasting psychological impact on the victims, ranging from sexual disorders, fear of sexual intimacy, nightmares and posttraumatic stress disorder.”

In India, only the Dawoodi Bohra is known to be still doing it secretively, and the secret remains guarded from the outsiders. This is not the first time the ritual has been challenged from inside. Two years earlier, another Bohra woman named Tasleem had also launched a petition and pleaded for a ban against it. The petition was taken to the high priest of the community Syed Burhanuddin, died in 2104, but was turned down. His spokesperson, Qureshi Raguib had said then as published in an advocacy group, “I have heard about the online campaign but Bohra women should understand that our religion advocates the procedure and they should follow it without any argument.”

The practice has been termed a violation of human rights by World Health Organization (WHO) and there have been protests against it in Europe as well with some North Africans bringing a gamut of tribalist beliefs with them to the countries in which they seek refuge.