The police in India-administered Kashmir have arrested three people so far, for making online threats to the members of an all-girl rock band, which disbanded Monday following a fatwa issued against them.
The three-member band — “Praagaash” meaning “from darkness to light” — described as "un-Islamic" by the region's most senior cleric, said they had received abuse and hate mail on Facebook since they made their first live appearance at the Battle of the Bands Music Festival in Srinagar in December.
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Omar Abdullah, who extended his support for the band, directed the police to act after the band had quit live performances due to threats and derision. They had promised to come back with an album, but decided to call it quits following the edict.
“I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them,” Abdullah said on Twitter Saturday.
The police have begun tracking down the IP addresses of the 26 users whose comments, out of the total 900 posts on the band's Facebook page, were found abusive, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported citing unnamed officials.
The youth arrested so far in connection with the threats are Tariq Khan, who was apprehended from Bijbehara, a town in South Kashmir, Rameez Shah, arrested from Ganderbal in central Kashmir and Irshad Ahmad Chara, a resident of SD Colony, Batamaloo in Srinagar, the PTI report said.
The band guitarist Aneeqa Khalid on Wednesday said that they decided to quit out of respect for grand priest Bashiruddin Ahmad who said singing was “blasphemous.”
“We did not know that people of Kashmir were unhappy with what we were doing,” Khalid was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
The band formed by three Muslim teenage girls, Aneeqa Khalid, Noma Nazir and Farah Deeba was the only female rock band to contest at Srinagar’s Battle of the Bands in December. They won a third place at the contest.
The cleric welcomed the band’s decision to quit singing, saying it was “in interest of Islam.”
“I appreciate the understanding of it by the girls as well as their parents and the whole society, which has backed me in stopping this blasphemous activity,” Ahmad said. “Bring in seminars, debates and other educative forums instead of glamorous music in the valley,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, has seen the rise of hardliners trying to impose Islamic law in the wake of an insurgency, which began in 1990.