Thursday, October 05, 2017

Mother's baby was circumcised without her consent 

Dr Balvinder Mehat (pictured) has been held by police after a three-month-old was operated on
Dr Balvinder Mehat (pictured) has been held by police after a three-month-old was operated on
A mother has spoken of the horrifying moment she opened her baby son's nappy to find him covered in blood after being circumcised without her consent.

The woman, from Nottingham, was so distraught that she had to leave them room and has been battling with the authorities for four years.  

Three people have now been arrested, including  family GP, Dr Balvinder Mehat, on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.

She believes it is male genital mutilation and it should be seen in the same way as female genital mutilation. 

The mother, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC: 'I opened the nappy and I ended up having to leave the room because I felt hysterical.

'It was just awful really, it wasn't very nice, there was all blood there and stuff. 

'It's even illegal to dock dogs' tails. I've come home crying my eyes out thinking a dog has got more rights than my child. 

There's something seriously not right with it all. You can protect a dog, you can protect a girl, but not a boy.' 

Dr Balvinder Mehat has been held by police investigating the procedure after a three-month-old was operated on during a visit to his paternal grandparents, who are Muslim. 

The boy's parents are separated, with Dr Mehat alleged to have carried out the circumcision for religious reasons before the infant was returned to his mother later the same day.

The mother complained to the police about the clinician, who works at the Bakersfield Medical Centre in Nottingham, claiming her son was in obvious distress when he was handed back to her. 

Campaigners say it is believed to be the first time a police force has treated 'non-therapeutic' circumcision as GBH.

The 26-year-old mother says the child, now aged four, has suffered repeated physical problems, including inflammation and water infections, in the years since the operation as a direct result.

The circumcision took place in July 2013. The mother, who lives in Nottingham, originally called social services, then contacted police on in November 2014.

There was an investigation, but Notts Police initially decided it wasn't a criminal matter, and the case was referred to the General Medical Council.

However, the force reopened the inquiry after the mother got assistance from the anti-circumcision group Men Do Complain, and leading human rights lawyer Saimo Chahal QC, who wrote to senior officers.

Dr Mehat was arrested on Wednesday, along with a 44-year-old man and woman, 47, believed to be the child's paternal grandparents, who were held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. 

All three have been released pending further investigation.

Richard Duncker, of Men Do Complain, said: 'It (the arrests) is good news because it gets the issue of child genital surgery for non-therapeutic reasons into the public debate.

'It is important we take the protection of children seriously. This is one of society's blind spots when it comes to children.'

Tim Alford, also of the group, who has been in regular contact with the mother, added: 'She feels vindicated. It has been a long struggle to get this recognised.

'She has witnessed the suffering of this little boy. He has had numerous infections, both on the wound and in the urinary tract. It's not fair. He is only four, and all he has known is grief.

'I have been campaigning for some time, and this is the first time I have seen the police refer to non-therapeutic circumcision as GBH. It is quite a landmark.

'Saimo Chahal decided the police had misapplied the law and threatened them with a judicial review unless they reopened the investigation.

'The boy's parents were in a very short relationship, but she thought it was the right thing for him to know that side of his family.'

In its statement, Notts Police said: Officers investigating the circumstances surrounding a circumcision conducted on a child in July 2013 have arrested three people.

'A 61-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.
'A 44-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

'They have all been released pending further investigation.

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