Indian Origin Female Doctor Charged With Genital Mutilation In The US

April 14, 2017 12:33
Indian Origin Female Doctor Charged With Genital Mutilation In The US

A 44-year old Indian-origin female doctor, identified as, Jumana Nagarwala, has been seized and charged on performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls, in the US.

This is believed to be the first such case in the US, of performing FGM, out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. In US, it is illegal to perform genital mutilation on anyone under the age of 18 years.

Some of the minor victims, who allegedly traveled to the inter-State, to have Nagarwala, perform the procedure, were approximately, aged 6 to 8 years.

Nagarwala, who speaks English and Gujarati, is an emergency room physician, in the Henry Ford Health System. She was arrested and scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit.

Since 1997, the number of girls under 18, at risk for FGM, in the US has quadrupled. According to, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, estimation, around 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM in the US. In 1996, the US Congress passed a law, making it illegal to perform genital mutilation or cutting of the genital organs, in the US on anyone under the age of 18.

The individual who performs FGM, is punishable by upto five years in prison. However, it is not considered an offence in 26 US States, including Michigan.

Acting Assistant Attorney General, Kenneth Blanco, of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement yesterday, “despite her oath to care for her patients, Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.”

The Department of Justice is committed to stop FGM in the US, and will utilize its full power of the law, to ensure “no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse,” added Blanco.

Acting US Attorney Daniel Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan, said FGM constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls.

“It is also a serious federal felony in the United States. The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” Lemisch said.

Nagarwala's telephone records, have been reviewed, by the federal agents, the complaint said. Further investigation revealed that, the parents of two minor girls had traveled to Michigan. After being interviewed by a forensic expert, one of the girls said, she was coming to Detroit for a “special” girls trip, but after arriving at the hotel, she learned that she and the other had to go to the doctor, because of the ache in their tummies, who then performed the procedure on them.

The female genital mutilation includes all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, said World Health Organization. FGM is most prevalent in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

FGM, is a violation of the human rights of girls and women, if performed on young girls between infancy and age 15, said WHO.

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