Pragaash row: Why Kashmir must fight against radicals
Srinagar, Feb 5: There is a tinge of sadness in Kashmir valley. The winter chill is more palpable now, as music-lovers across Jammu and Kashmir are expressing sadness and regret after the first girl rock band "Pragaash" of the state was forced to call it a quits, due to fatwa issued against them.
"Just tell everyone we have quit. We are no more a band," one of the members of the group Pragaash told the BBC, announcing their decision to disband their rock band. The band on Monday, Feb 4 decided to quit after region's most senior cleric called them "un-Islamic".
However, Kashmiris have come strongly in support of the young girls and slammed the fatwa. The Jammu and Kashmir government said it would provide security to the girls to continue with their singing.
Grand Mufti, Bashir-ud-Din, slammed the three-member band for their "indecent behaviour".
"When girls and young women stray from the rightful path... this kind of non-serious activity can become the first step towards our destruction," Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad said in a statement.
The cleric said he has advised the members of the rock band to "abandon" singing as it is against Islamic teachings and will not help them in playing any constructive role in the society.
"Society cannot be built or developed by doing un-Islamic acts like singing. I have advised these girls, and other Muslims as well, to stay within the limits of modesty as prescribed for them," he added.
Grand Mufti is the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatwa, on interpretations of Islamic law for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases.
His comments came a day after Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah threw his weight behind the rock band and asked the police to investigate the threats to 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. I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them," he tweeted.
Praagaash is a rock band comprising Farah Deeba (drummer), Aneeqa Khalid (bass player) and Noma Nazir (guitarist and vocalist). They last performed in December in Srinagar. After the abuse and threats, they have decided to stop public performances and concentrate on cutting albums.