Kashmiri all-girl band breaks up after fatwa
The first all-girl rock band in Indian-controlled Kashmir has decided to disband after only one concert because of threats its three teenaged members received on social media and criticism from a top Muslim cleric and separatists.
The fate of ‘Pragaash’ band highlights the simmering tension between modernity and tradition in Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Adnan Mattoo, the group's music teacher and manager, said the three high school students in the band are scared and want the controversy to end.
The all-girl teenage rock band decided to split after the region's top Muslim cleric declared their music to be "un-Islamic", their manager said Tuesday.
The three-piece, group whose members are still in high school, had been the target of an online hate campaign ever since winning a "Battle of the Bands" contest in December.
But after initially insisting they would continue making music, they called it quits after the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad, branded them as "indecent" and issued a fatwa calling for them to disband.
"After the fatwa the girls decided to quit and disband," Adnan Mattoo, the band's manager, said in brief comments to AFP.
Pragaash performed in public for the first time in December at a "Battle of the Bands" organised by an Indian paramilitary force. It won third place.
The mother of one of the girls confirmed that her daughter had decided to leave the band, saying she was staying with relatives outside Kashmir until the fuss died down.
"My daughter had been depressed and irritable so we decided to send her away to another city for some time," said the mother, who did not want to give her name.
Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state and hardline Islamists have a reputation for trying to impose Islamic law, forcing the closure of cinemas and liquor stores with the onset of an anti-India insurgency in 1990.
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