From Outlook India, the Times of India and the Daily Mail
SRINAGAR: Having defied convention, Kashmir's first all-girls rock band is facing a challenge of online threats and abuses from conservative sections of the society.
The teenaged girls who came to limelight in late December last year after their scintillating performance at the annual 'Battle of the Bands' competition
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 tenth standard) - formed their rock band named " Pragaash" (light) and won the best performance award in their first public appearance.
"There has been a wicked campaign against the girls ever since they made their maiden appearance in public on December 26," owner of Band Inn, a musical academy where the girls are undergoing training,
He said the band is presently working on an album. Criticism is nothing new to Kashmiri women singers who defied strong opposition in the past as well and made a name in the music field. Raj Begum, renowned Kashmiri singer, even won the national award. He was quoted in the Times of India as saying: 'They are just 15 and too young to face such abuse.
Following the concert, comments appeared on Facebook from extremists who said the teenage girls should be raped and then drowned.
A Facebook page KashmirNews posted a photograph of the band with a caption stating: 'Personally, I consider them as shameless and spoiled brats...
'A lot of people criticised the girls. Some even went on to say, "Post this status in advance. The three band girls raped in Jammu and thrown in river."'
The band members, Farah Deeba, guitarist Aneeka Khalid and vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, refused to talk on the issue but were reportedly shaken by the threats.
Coming out in support . . . Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, today, promised a police probe and hoped that the talented teenagers would not let themselves be silenced by a "handful of morons".
Amid support pouring in from all sections of the society, Grandmufti of Jammu and Kashmir Bashiruddin Ahmad today termed singing as "un-Islamic" and asked them to abandon it.
"I have said that singing is not in accordance with Islamic teachings," Ahmad told PTI.
The cleric said he has advised the members of the rock band to "abandon" singing as it is against Islamic teachings and will not help them in playing any constructive role in the society.
"Society cannot be built or developed by doing un-Islamic acts like singing. I have advised these girls, and other Muslims as well, to stay within the limits of modesty as prescribed for them,"
Their parents are said to have advised the band to stay out of the limelight for a while and the girls are now believed to be in New Delhi.