Kashmir’s first all-girl band has called it quits after the region’s senior Islamic cleric issued a fatwa against them.
The members of Pragaash, a Kashmiri word that means “from darkness to light,” have been the subject of escalating threats in the past month. The girls, 16-year-old vocalist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba, and guitarist Aneeka Khalid, both age 15, formed their trio at a music institute where they all took classes after school.
Nazir confirmed the split to Indian media today. “We have decided to quit in deference to the decree of the Grand Mufti, who knows religion more than we do,” Nazir said. “I thank all those people who supported our decision to form the band and encouraged us during the last two years.”
Pragaash became the target of conservative Kashmiri factions after their first public performance last December. The girls won third place in a Battle of the Bands in Jammu and Kashmir’s capital city.
The trio began to book live shows after the Battle of the Bands, but the abuse and threats that poured into social networking sites soon forced them out of the spotlight and into the studio.
“First, the girls had decided to quit live performance due to an online hate campaign and concentrate on making an album,” Adnan Mattoo, the rock group’s music teacher and manager, told The Associated Press. “But after an edict by the government’s own cleric, these girls are saying goodbye to music.”
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