Expressing outrage online, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday came out in support of Kashmir's only all-girls rock band which faced online threats and promised a police probe. He hoped that the talented teenagers would not let themselves be silenced by a "handful of morons".
The valley's only all-girl band comprising vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir (16), drummer Farah Deeba and Guitarist Aneeka Khalid (both 15), had defied convention to form the rock band "Pragaash" (darkness to light). It came to limelight in December last year and now face a challenge of online threats and abuses.
The Chief Minister said it was a matter of shame that those who demand freedom of speech on social media networks, use it to threaten the girls, who are Class X students.
"The police will examine the threats issued and whether any provision of the law can be used to book those making the threats (to the rock band)," Omar said, adding "I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them."
"Shame on those who claim freedom of speech via social media and then use that freedom to threaten girls who have the right to choose to sing," he wrote on Twitter.
Though there are dozens of bands currently playing popular music of different genres in the Valley, this is the first all-girls rock band and was among the winners after their maiden public appearance.
After their scintillating performance at the annual 'Battle of the Bands' competition here, the girls received online threats and absurd comments, leaving their parents worried and forcing them to keep a low profile.
"There has been a wicked campaign against the girls ever since they made their maiden appearance in public on December 26," said Adnan Matoo, who runs music academy Band Inn. The girls were undergoing training at this academy.
Matoo also functions as the band manager and said the girls cried after seeing the abusive comments online. "I told them such things keep happening in the social media."
Some of the tweets on the issue:
Bisma Fida (@be_fida): We are stupid,not realizing what abusing girls, singing harmlessly would prove to the world once again.India has an agenda.
ठीकमोहन (@ChorSipahi):When people start singing terrorists get terrified.
Jaseem Abid (@jaseemabid): I was hoping to see more tweets tagged #Pragaash supporting the girls, but its surprisingly the other way around. Now I'm scared!
Stina O. Wilson (@stina_wilson): Definetely supporting #Pragaash - im sure u girls will make great things. Be strong.
Noor (@haq_noor): Meanwhile in Mumbai Ghulam Ali concert cancelled after organisers receive threats. Where have all the liberals gone?
(With PTI Inputs)