J&K band member flees to B’lore; abusers booked


PTI/BM, 05-02-2013 10:15:03


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A day after Kashmir’s first all-girl band Pragaash (which means from darkness to light) called it quits, the J&K police on Tuesday registered a case over the abusive and threatening online posts against the teenage group.

 
An officer from Rajbagh police station in Srinagar said six Facebook users who posted messages threatening the three-member band had been identified, and added that 30 more culprits were involved. The J&K police spokesperson, Manoj Sheeri, said: “A first information report has been lodged under Section 66(A) of the IT Act and Section 506 criminal intimidation) of the IPC.”
 
It was revealed on Tuesday that one of the girls has left the Valley for Bangalore, even as the Grand Mufti, Bashir-ud-din Ahmed — who had issued a fatwa against the group calling their music ‘un-Islamic’ — welcomed their decision to disband.
 
Breaking their silence, two band members said Kashmir was “not a place for music”. One of the girls said in a choked voice, “If anyone wants to learn music, they have to go out.”
 
The girls, however, insisted they respected the fatwa. “We respect the Mufti sahib who said it (their music) is haram. We respect the opinion of people of Kashmir. That is why we quit. It is because people are not happy with us,” one of them said.
 
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s father Farooq Abdullah came out in support of the band, and said he hoped the girls would not give up music. The Std X students — vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid — had formed Pragaash and performed in Srinagar last year.
 
The controversy, meanwhile, brought to fore differences among separatist groups, with some denouncing the fatwa against the band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jammu and Kashmir Police has registered a case and identified several Facebook users who had posted abusive and threatening messages on the page of the only all-girls rock band of the Valley.

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"A case under Section 66 A of the IT Act and Section 506 RPC (Criminal Intimidation) has been registered in police station Rajbagh with regard to the hate messages posted on the Facebook page of the Pragaash band," a police spokesman said today.

He said the investigations are in full swing but refused to give any details.

However, an official associated with the investigation said police have been able to identify at least six persons who had posted hate messages with the help of experts from the cyber crime cell.

"So far half a dozen Facebook users who had posted hate messages have been identified while efforts are on to identify the others," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

He said the Facebook page of the band had received a large number of posts -- mostly critical -- and it would take some time to sift through all of them.

"Arrests are likely to be made in the next couple of days," he added.

Pragaash (light), the first all-girls rock band of Kashmir, yesterday decided to call it quits in the wake of a ’fatwa’ issued by Grand Mufti terming singing as un-islamic.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among a large number of political leaders who extended their unflinching support to the girls, urging them not to quit singing because of a "bunch of morons". The hardline Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani also criticised the Grand Mufti.

Within days after their performance in Srinagar, the band had started receiving online threats and absurd comments which was followed up with a ’fatwa’ (religious decree) issued by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad.

Sources close to the band had said the girls decided not to sing in the wake of Mufti’s controversial decree.

The 10th-class students -- vocalist-guitarist Noma Nazir, drummer Farah Deeba and guitarist Aneeka Khalid -- had formed a band "Pragash" and performed in December last year with a scintillating performance at the annual ’Battle of the Bands’ competition in Srinagar and won the best performance award in their first public appearance.

Sensing the mounting support for the girls, hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani had distanced itself from the ’fatwa’ and said, "There is no threat to the girls. Nobody has issued any threats. It is a mere propaganda by the media and they are making a big bomb out of a normal issue to defame Kashmiris."

The spokesman of the Hurriyat faction Ayaz Akbar had said some youngsters posting abuses on social networking sites cannot be termed as threat and added that Hurriyat does not support such abuse or coercion and force in any way.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti had also condemned the abusive threats to the rock band and blamed the media for negative portrayal of the issue.

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