Kashmir's all-girls band calls it quits after un-Islamic tag

The members of Pragaash decided to call it quits after Kashmir’s Grand Mufti (head priest) Bashir-ud-Din issued a fatwa (decree) against them.

“I am too little to know whether music is un-Islamic. The Grand Mufti will be more aware of our religion. So we respect his decision. He is a well-respected man,” said a band member.

Losing voice: One of the band members of Pragaash said she was too young to know whether music was un-Islamic and she respects the Grand Mufti’s decision. Pic/AFP

She said one has to move out of Kashmir to pursue music. “That’s the lesson I have learnt. If one has to pursue music, one has to move out,” she said.

On Sunday, the Grand Mufti criticised the girl band for what he said was 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.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have filed a First Information Report (FIR) against those who had attacked the band online.

The band had earlier decided to stop live performances for sometime after receiving threats and criticisms on social networking sites.

The band, however, received support from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who said the girls should not allow ‘a handful of morons to 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,” Omar tweeted.

“The police will examine the threats issued and whether any provision of the law can be used to book those making the threats#Pragaash,” he said.

“I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them #Pragaash,” Omar said. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Balbir Punj appreciated Omar for supporting the band.

“I appreciate Omar Abdullah for taking a tough stand on the matter so far,” said Punj. The girls also received support from netizens who created a page on Facebook named: I support Pragaash, Kashmir’s first all-girls’ rock band.

Formed in 2012, the band members received warnings, including rape threats, following their first live performance at Srinagar in December.

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