Srinagar, Feb 4: Freedom of speech has come under threat once again in India. This time a all-girls rock band of Kashmir has been bullied and threatened by Muslim organisations to stop singing.
Praagaash - the Valley's first all-women rock band, initially faced threats and abuses online, now, Muslim groups have said singing is "un-Islamic".
Grandmufti of Jammu and Kashmir Bashiruddin Ahmad on Sunday, Feb 3 termed singing as "un-Islamic" and asked them to abandon it.
The Grandmufti issued a decree, terming singing as un-Islamic.
"I have said that singing is not in accordance with Islamic teachings," Ahmad said.
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," he added.
Grand Mufti is the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatāwā, on interpretations of Islamic law for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases.
His comments came a day after Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah threw his weight behind the rock band and asked the police to investigate the threats to them. "Shame on those who claim freedom of speech via social media and then use that freedom to threaten girls who have the right to choose to sing. I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them," he tweeted.
Praagaash is a rock band comprising Farah Deeba (drummer), Aneeqa Khalid (bass player) and Noma Nazir (guitarist and vocalist). They last performed in December in Srinagar. After the abuse and threats, they have decided to stop public performances and concentrate on cutting albums.