Facing fatwa, Kashmir's all-girl rock band quits!


By Hindustan Times

"Noma quits", "Farah quits also" --- the two messages were posted by two of Kashmir's first three-girl rock band, Praagaash (from darkness to light), on Monday on a Facebook page created enthusiastically after it performed first time in December last year.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah's assurances not withstanding, the government-backed grand priest Mufti Bashir-ud-Din's fatwa and on-line troll has taken a toll on Kashmir rare girls' rock band. Under tremendous pressure, the rock band of Class 10 students calls it a day.

Just two days ago, the music band's mentor Adnan Mattoo, who was in constant touch with the girls, told the Hindustan Times the girls won't quit in the face of abuses and on-line threats, which include rape threats.

Earlier, in the face of online abuses, the band had decided to stop public performances for some time and restart doing musical albums.

However, the government-backed grand mufti on Sunday issued a fatwa against music and dancing and extended a religious patronage to otherwise fringe elements of the unknown on-line abusers.

Omar did take a snipe at the mufti on micro-blogging site Twitter: "Given the importance people attach to the fatwas of the grand mufti, the less said the better."

The CM, who had earlier promised police action against those who issued threats, removed the message from his thread just minutes after posting it, apparently owning the grand mufti and retracting his statement.

Now, socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami too has joined the mufti's chorus against the girls. "The shariat strictly prohibits immodest activity, in particular obscene dancing of women in the presence of men," said Jamaat spokesman Zahid Ali.

He said propagation of immodesty amongst the believers were liable to severe punishment in the world and the hereafter. "The girls and their parents who participated in musical band also seem to be amongst this ignorant class," said Ali.

Earlier, the hardline Hurriyat Conference has also criticized the girls for emulating Western culture. "Though in a civilised society there is no place for coercion and force, yet there are some values a citizen has to adopt to safeguard the ethical, moral and religious traditions," said Hurriyat spokesman in response to the chief minister's appeal to the band to continue music.

Despite the fatwa, there is not let up in the support for the rock band from netizens in the valley. "The fatwa is misogynist. Where there is no fatwa when boys perform publicly?" asked a netizen.

The three teenagers --- drummer Farah Deeba, guitarist Aneeka Khalid and vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir --- started their band in December last year when they registered third position in the 'Battle of bands' musical competition, defeating several all-boy rock bands of the valley.