An all-female rock band in Kashmir have quit music in the face of online abuse, after being labeled “un-Islamic” by the state’s grand mufti.
Kashmiri police have since launched an investigation in response to rape and death threats posted on teenage band Pragaash’s Facebook page.
A fatwa was issued on the band by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, after Pragaash won third place at a battle of the bands in December. Speaking to the AFP news agency, the grand mufti said: “When girls and young women stray from the rightful path […] this kind of non-serious activity can become the first step towards our destruction.”
Indian-governed Kashmir is a Muslim-majority state, but most Kashmiris don’t see female performers as an issue, and support from the band throughout India more widely has been vocal. Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah labelled the girls’s critics “a handful of morons” on Twitter.
Sadly the teenagers, who’ve become pawns in the long-disputed region’s political infighting, have decided not to continue making music and told the BBC: “We are no more a band.” An understandable decision in the wake of the torrent of abuse, but one that’s sure to provoke further analysis of a pervading sexism in Indian culture.