A case was registered by the police on Tuesday over the abusive and threatening online posts against Kashmir's first all-girls rock band whose one member has been sent to Bangalore after the group was forced to call it quits.
An official associated with the investigations said the police were able to identify at least six Facebook users who had posted hate messages on the page of the three-member rock band with the help of experts from the cyber crime cell.
Although the whereabouts of the girls were kept a secret by the family after the controversy broke out, it has emerged that one of the three girls has gone to Bangalore amid reports she has left the Valley to help her recover from depression. The other two girls remained in the Valley.
"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 Jammu and Kashmir police spokesman said. He said the investigations are in full swing but refused to give any details.
An official on the condition of anonymity, however, said, "So far half a dozen Facebook users who had posted hate messages have been identified while efforts are on to identify the others."
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, on Monday decided to call it quits in the wake of a fatwa issued by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad terming singing as un-Islamic that came close on the heels of the threatening online posts.
The mufti said he was "happy" the rock music group has been disbanded by the girls.
Breaking the silence, a member of the band said they have given up music as they respect the decree (fatwa) issued by the grand mufti.
"We just quit (singing and music) only because of the people of Kashmir, as Mufti sahib said it is un-Islamic. We did not know that they are unhappy with our music," one of the three band members told a private TV channel.
The girl said the band decided to quit music after the fatwa was issued by the grand mufti. "We respect the mufti sahib who said it is ‘haram’. We respect the opinion of people of Kashmir also. That is why we quit," she added.
The girl said all the bands in Kashmir have decided to disband in solidarity with their band ‘Pragaash’.
National Conference leader and Union minister Farooq Abdullah said it was unfortunate that the girls’ band was forced to call it quits.
Farooq hoped the girls will not give up music and continue to sing.
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.
The controversy, meanwhile, brought to fore differences among separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
While Dukhtaran-e-Millat warned the girls of social boycott, Muslim Khawateen Markaz denounced the fatwa of the grand mufti against their singing and termed the threat of ostracisation as "unwarranted".
"There are much bigger issues where fatwas can be issued. Why has there been no fatwa against male singers? Why has there been no fatwa against girls participating in government or army functions," Zamaruda Habib, patron of MKM told PTI.
Zamaruda said the fatwa is nothing but politics and these things are giving a "bad name" to Kashmir.
"In the wake of controversies concerning women, what has concerned us in a terrible way is the upsurge in domestic violence and bride burning issues that have come to the fore," she said.
Zamaruda said MKM believes in the freedom of expression of art, music and grace that "suits and defines us as a nation".
Reacting to the threat of social boycott of girls of the band by DeM, she said, the MKM is against it. "I respect Asiya'ji (DeM chief), but I do not support social boycott. It is unwarranted. Why should we boycott our girls," she added.