NCW, MPs Voice Support for Kashmir's All-Girls Band

New Delhi
NCW, MPs Voice Support for Kashmir's All-Girls Band

National Commission for Women and some parliamentarians today came out in support of Kashmir's first all-girls rock band 'Pragaash', whose singing was termed as "un-Islamic" by the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir.

"This is wrong. Every one 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.

"On the one hand we say that both genders should be equal but on the other hand we put restrictions on girls, that girls cannot do this...I believe this is very wrong," she added.

BJD MP Jay Panda also came out in support of the rock band. "I think no body has the right to stop other people from expressing themselves through their music or other cultural activities," he said.

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.

The Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir Bashiruddin Ahmad had yesterday issued a decree, terming the bands singing as "un-Islamic" and asked the girls to abandon it.

The all-girls band has three class 10 students as its members - vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and Guitarist Aneeka Khalid.

The first live performance of 'Pragaash' (darkness to light) 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.

BJP MP Balbir Punj praised the stand taken by Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah in the matter. "In this entire issue, we have to remember that there is an attempt for 'Talibanisation' of Kashmir and some other parts of the country," he said.

"Religious fundamentalists want to run the society according to their will. I would like to appreciate the strong stand taken by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in the matter," Punj added.

Speaking on the matter, Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said stopping the all-girls rock band will take the society backwards.

"I have always said that whether it is ideology of the Hindu fundamentalist or Muslim fundamentalist, it will take the country back to 18th century. Congress is a moderate liberal party. We cannot support such things," he remarked.

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