Even as Kashmir’s first all-girls teenage rock band ‘Pragaash’ called it quits on Monday, a day after the Grand Mufti issued a fatwa terming singing as ‘un-Islamic’ and asked them to abandon it, support poured in from all corners of the country.

Although the teenaged girls maintained silence over the issue, parties across the political spectrum and women’s organisations slammed the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir for calling their singing “un-Islamic”.

Congress, BJP, Biju Janata Dal, National Commission for Women, the Left-backed All India Democratic Women’s Association and National federation of Indian Women were on the “same page” asserting that the controversial fatwa by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad would push the society backwards.

“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,” Mamata Sharma, Chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.

Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh slammed the fatwa and said, “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.”

BJD MP Jay Panda said, “I think nobody has the right to stop other people from expressing themselves through their music or other cultural activities.”

BJP MP Najma Heptullah said, “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.”

Although the teenaged girls maintained silence over the issue, sources close to them said, they had decided to quit singing and music.

The girls had defied convention by stepping into the male-dominated field but faced online threats and abuses from conservative sections of the society.

State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among large number of people who came out in support of the girls. He, reportedly, dismissed the decree on his Twitter page but is said to have removed it later.

Though there are dozens of bands currently playing popular music of different genres in the valley, the girls — vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid (all students of 10th standard) — formed the first all-girls rock band by the name of ‘Pragaash’ (light) and won the best performance award in their first public appearance.

(This article was published on February 4, 2013)
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