Two Indian American doctors and one of their wives have been charged in the first genital mutilation case in the US. They performed the banned procedure on two 7-year old girls in Michigan. The procedure is a violation of human rights of girls and women as outlined by the WHO.

Dr Fakhruddin Attar and his wife Farida Attar been arrested and charged with conspiracy, female genital mutilation and for aiding and abetting the crime.

Emergency room physician Jumana Nagarwala has also been arrested. Investigators say that the three are part of a religious community, Dawoodi Bohra, that believes in removing a part of the clitoris of young girls’ to suppress sexuality.

The defence attorney for the doctors, Sharon Smith, said that the procedure was religious in nature and did not involve cutting. The procedure was also sterile, she said.

Investigators saw two girls and their mothers arrive at the Burhani Medical Clinic. The girls later told investigators that their mothers had told them that they were going on a special girls’ trip.

One of the girls said that she couldn’t walk properly after the procedure and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle. The girls were told not to talk about the procedure.

According to a national report, 513,000 women and girls in the US were at risk of undergoing genital mutilation.

The three of them have been accused of targeting young girls for years, and the case is soon headed to trial. More than 200 million girls and women have had to undergo genital mutilation. According to the WHO, young girls between infancy and 15 years comprise most of the victims.

Also Read: End Female Genital Mutilation, UN Urges