Kashmir’s first all-girls rock band fall silent

February 24, 2013 | By More

All they wanted to do was sing. Three Class IX girls from Kashmir convinced their parents to let them join a music school. They became close friends and soon formed a band. But what followed their first and only public performance — fatwa, criticism and media scrutiny — forced them off the stage and away from the limelight.

In December last year, the Central Reserve Police Force organised a contest called Battle of the Bands in Srinagar. Adnan Mattoo, the owner of the music school, entered the bands he was training in the competition. A day later, the song sung by Pragaash, the all-girl band, was posted on YouTube and triggered 1,400-odd comments. Their families were frightened by the response, most of it abuses and threats, and even more by the political maelstrom the girls’ performance unleashed. Earlier this week, the band hung up its guitars following a fatwa issued by the state’s top clergyman Bashiruddin Ahmad.

The law is taking its course. Three youngsters are in custody for posting abusive comments. The police are scanning the virtual world to trace the “threats” faced by Pragaash. But the controversy this incident generated is no judgement on the love for music in Kashmir. Music and Bollywood are probably the two things that have somehow survived the 25 years of militancy.

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