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Feb 05, 2013 at 09:44am IST

Kashmiris back girl band, urge Omar govt to act against religious diktats

New Delhi: In the wake of the fatwa against the first girl rock band of Jammu and Kashmir, many prominent Kashmiris came out in support of the band and condemned the fatwa issued by the Grand Mufti. Lawyer Shabnam Lone and actor Aamir Bashir blamed the Omar Abdullah government for not acting against the religious diktats.

During a debate with IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Shabnam Lone said, "The Mufti has given a fatwa, is he a Constitutional authority? He is not. Now why were the things allowed to go far beyond the point where these girls are in hiding now?"

ALSO SEE J&K: Parties decry fatwa as girl band decides to quit, CM assures security

Actor Aamir Bashir questioned as to what is taking the state government so long to act against such diktats. "Wherever the state has failed you will find these elements, which are fringe elements. The state has all the power and the state abuses that power all the time in Kashmir. They become like lambs. 'Oh we don't know, it's up to the girls', what do you mean it's up to the girls. If somebody has published a threat, a life threatening threat, what are you waiting for," Bashir questioned.

Shabnam Lone added that if those in power are not acting, they should be thrown out of power. "Unfortunately the people who are in a position of power to change things, they have capitulated just to remain in power. So unless and until the people who are there at the helm of affairs, if they do not deliver, the best thing is change them," Lone said.

ALSO SEE Omar Abdullah assures security to girl band

"Art has survived, it was there before religion. It has and will survive religion. These are human beings who have every right to express themselves," Aamir Bashir added.

This came after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said that full security will be provided to the members of the state's first girl band if they wanted to pursue their music career. "The decision to continue or not continue lies with the band. Jammu and Kashmir always had a musical history. The girls can continue their musical career. The state will provide security," said Omar, in an interview to CNN-IBN. The young Chief Minister added that Islam did not sanction threatening people.

ALSO SEE Girls should sing in their homes: Grand Mufti

The band on Monday decided to quit after a fatwa was issued against them by the valley's Grand Mufti, Bashir-ud-Din, who said that women must live in purdah at all times. Blaming women for the increase in crimes against them, he said that women must desist from performing in public as otherwise, there will be no difference between "our women and film actresses".

The opposition party in Jammu and Kashmir, People's Democratic Party's Mehbooba Mufti too slammed the fatwa against the girls saying it was unreasonable. She urged the state government to intervene and take action.

Naeem Akhtar of the PDP said, "Mufti sahab has made it a habit of issuing fatwas on every thing. It gives Islam a bad name. Music is an intrinsic part of Kashmir's culture, we have had many great singers."

Najma Heptullah of the BJP said, "If God has given talent to someone, then to use God's name to put a ban on it is wrong." This came after Kashmir's Grand Mufti condemned the first girl 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.

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