NEW DELHI: The first-ever, all-girl band to emerge from the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley of India has disbanded itself after a barrage of online hate and a fatwa by Srinagar Grand Mufti Mohammad Bashiruddin on Sunday.
The Dukhataarn-e-Millat, a women’s organization known for its radical views, also issued a call for social boycott of the teenage band comprising vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid who all are 10th class students.
The families of the three girls live in Srinagar’s dangerous areas of Chhanpora, Bemina and Rajbagh, and fearing for their lives they reportedly forced their daughters to shut the band.
The three-member female band called Pragaash became nationally known in December after it competed with boy bands in Srinagar at the `Battle of Bands’ competition and won it.
This outraged fanatics who barraged the three girls with hate mail and threatened them with death and even rape, forcing them to go underground.
Last Friday, the girls decided to quit the band even as Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah backed the girls and promised to investigate threats to the band.
“I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them,’’ the chief minister reportedly said in a tweeted message.
But two days later on Sunday, the Grand Mufti Mohammad Bashiruddin added fuel to fire by issuing a fatwa against the three girls one of whom even wears the hijab.
“When girls and young women stray from the rightful path… this kind of non-serious activity can become the first step towards our destruction,’’ the mufti said in his fatwa against the girls.
According to reports, one of the members of the rock band has been sent away to Bangalore by her family to recover from the depression caused by the threats.
The girl’s family said the 16-year-old had gone into deep depression after the threats and fatwa, and they have sent her to Bangalore to recover.
On Tuesday, one of the girls was quoted as saying that the band agreed with the fatwa and decided to shut down.
“We just quit only because of the people of Kashmir… as Mufti sahib said it is unislamic. We did not know that they are unhappy with our music. We respect Mufti Sahib who said it is ‘haram’. We respect the opinion of people of Kashmir also,” the girl was quoted as saying by PTI.
But the mufti said he never issued any threat to the girl band.
“I am happy they have quit. I congratulate them, their parents and all those people who supported my fatwa. Now, I would advise them to excel in education and prove their mettle.
“There was no threat. I did not issue any threat. We do not believe in threatening and violence. I just advised them it is unIslamic. I have not created any fear in their mind. I did not put any pressure on them. This (singing) was the first step towards their disaster. If this is what you call freedom, then we do not want such a freedom,” the mufti was quoted as saying.