Political parties extends support for Kashmir's all-girls band

Kashmir's first all-girls rock band 'Pragaash' on Monday received unflinching support from parties across the political spectrum and women's organisations who slammed the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir for calling their singing "un-Islamic".

Congress, BJP, BJD, National Commission for Women, AIDWA and NFIW were on the "same page" asserting that the controversial fatwa by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad would push the society backwards.

"This is wrong. Every one has their own perspective, there are traditions. But I believe that if after so many years of independence, we stop girls from any work, it will be our double standards," Mamata Sharma, Chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.

"On the one hand we say that both genders should be equal but on the other we put restrictions on girls, that girls cannot do this...I believe this is very wrong," she added.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh slammed the fatwa and said stopping the all-girls rock band will take the society backwards.

"I have always said whether it is ideology of the Hindu fundamentalist or Muslim fundamentalist, it will take the country back to 18th century. Congress is a moderate liberal party. We cannot support such things," he said.

Coming out in support of the rock band, BJD MP Jay Panda said: "I think nobody has the right to stop other people from expressing themselves through their music or other cultural activities," he said.

Echoing Singh's views, BJP MP Najma Heptullah said: "Saying anything in the name of religion does not do any favour to the religion...If you don't like songs, don't listen to them. To stop them (the rock band members) in the name of religion, I don't think it is the right move."

Naeem Akhtar, spokesperson of Opposition People's Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir, said the entire incident was an "unnecessary controversy".

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