Fatwa against girls band: 'Restrictions under banner of religion not correct', says Heptulla

New Delhi/Lucknow, Feb 4 (ANI): With Kashmir's first all-girls rock band now facing a fatwa from Muslim clerics after threats on social networking sites, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Vice President Najma Heptulla on Monday said that such restrictions under the banner of religion are not correct.

"I think this is not justice for religion. If you don't like the songs, then you should not listen to them, but to cite religion as an excuse to restrict them from singing is just wrong," she said.

Meanwhile, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Jay Panda complimented Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for supporting this band.

"I think nobody has the right to stop other people from expressing themselves by their music or other cultural activities and I was happy to note that the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir himself, Omar Abdullah, has spoken up in support of this band. So, I think that is the view that should prevail," he said.

Muslim cleric Khalid Rashid, however, supported the diktat and threat and termed the band as 'against the culture and traditions of India'.

"I think that their decision and their concern regarding the rock band and music are completely according to the basic tenants of Islam and such kind of music and such kind of rock bands are not allowed as far as Islamic teachings are concerned. And they are against the Indian culture and tradition and they also promote noise pollution," he told the media in Lucknow.

Support has poured in for the Kashmir Valley's first all-girl rock band Pragaash', who have now stopped live shows following threats and criticism on social networking sites, from all sections of the society, including National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma.

After threats, Kashmir's first all girls music band is now facing a fatwa from Muslim clerics. Kashmir's Grand Mufti has condemned the rock band and issued a fatwa against them, saying music is bad for the society and women must be under a veil at all times.

Abdullah has backed this band, and said it is a 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. The police will examine the threats issued and whether any provision of the law can be used to book those making the threats. 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 tweeted.

The members of the all-girl band have been receiving warnings, even rape threats, on the social media ever since they first performed in Srinagar two months ago. This band has received abusive and hate messages on their Facebook page for defying convention by choosing the field of music.

Farah Deeba, Aneka Khalid and Noma Nazir started receiving the threats soon after Pragaash's first live performance, at Srinagar's Battle of the Bands, an annual music festival, in December last year.

The criticisms have hit the morale of these young girls, but they have remained defiant and are fighting on. 16-year-old Nazir is the vocalist and guitarist, while Khalid is the bass guitarist and Deeba is the drummer. Both Khalid and Deeba are 15 years old.

The focus of this band, which is decided against public performances for now, is on producing an album.

The band Pragaash, which means from darkness to light, was formed last year. (ANI)

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