Srinagar: Pained yet fearful of being further targeted by religious zealots, Kashmir’s all-girl rock band has called it quits and want to be ‘left alone’.
One of the members of the band said, “We don’t want to pursue music, we quit. I personally don’t know whether music is un-Islamic but the Grand Mufti knows better. We respect his decision that is why we quit.”
“Kashmir is not the place…if anybody wants to pursue a career in music they would have to go out,” she added.
On whether the band members feel safe, she said, “We don’t want any security; we are ok…just leave us alone.”
The all-girls band `Pragaash` (darkness to light) has three Class 10 students vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid as its members. The first live performance of the band at Srinagar`s music festival `Battle of the Bands` in December had created ripples in the Valley.
But their euphoria was short-lived as the girls soon started receiving online threats for defying convention by choosing the field of music, leaving their parents worried and forcing them to keep a low profile.
However, after the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir Bashiruddin Ahmad issued a decree, terming the bands singing as "un-Islamic" and asked the girls to abandon it, the girls fell in line and announced that “they quit”.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among large number of people who came out in support of the girls. Omar even reportedly dismissed the decree on his Twitter page but removed the Tweet later.
"This is wrong. Everyone has their own perspective, there are traditions. But I believe that if after so many years of independence, we stop girls from any work, it will be our double standards," said Mamata Sharma, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women.
Naeem Akhtar, spokesperson of Opposition Peoples Democratic Party in J-K, said the entire incident was an "unnecessary controversy".
"Mufti sahab has made a profession out of issuing fatwas on every issue that is defaming religion," Akhtar said.
BJP MP Najma Heptullah also supported the all-girls band. "Saying anything in the name of religion does not do any favour to the religion...If you don`t like songs, don`t listen to them. To stop them (the rock band members) in the name of religion, I don`t think it is the right move," she added.