Srinagar: One of the members of Pragaash, Jammu and Kashmir's first girl band, on Tuesday broke her silence and said that they decided to quit because they respected the Grand Mufti's decision and not because of the abuses and threats hurled at them on Facebook. Speaking to CNN-IBN, the girl said that she was too small to know whether music was un-Islamic or not and that the Grand Mufti would be more aware of their religion.
"I am too little to know whether music is un-Islamic. The Grand Mufti will be more aware of our religion. So we respect his decision. He is a well-respected man," she said. She added that the band should be left alone and pleaded to the media that the case should not be highlighted.
The girl, a Class 10 student, said that she had the support of her parents and friends. She also admitted that Kashmir was not the place if one wanted to pursue music. "That's the lesson I have learnt. If one has to pursue music, one has to move out," she said. When asked about the action of the Jammu and Kashmir police against the threats directed against them online, she said it was good that the FIR had been registered. She added that the she and her friends had no need for security. She further claimed that four other music groups had disbanded in solidarity with them.
The girls came into prominence when they won a best performance award during a show in 2012. However, what followed were threats of murder and rape. This was followed by a fatwa against them by the Grand Mufti, who argued that women must live in veil at all times. "If they want, they can sing in front of their mothers, sisters, but they cannot perform in public, in front of unknown men."
The Grand Mufti also blamed women for rapes. "The women must be in veil. The should cover their hair as it attracts men. If something wrong happens to them, the opposite gender cannot be blamed for it."
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had, however, assured protection to the girl band. "If they want to pursue their music, we will provide them security. However, I cannot tell them to continue or discontinue. It has to be their decision."
The CM further said that threatening innocent children was un-Islamic. "I don't know what kind of religion are those people following. If they are threatening innocent girls of rape and murder, I don't know what religion they are following."
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Mehbooba Mufti of the People's Democratic Party too slammed the fatwa and urged the state government to intervene. "Music is art. The state government must intervene. I really don't understand the fatwa. So I will not comment on it."