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Kashmir girl band Pragaash breaks up after threats

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:17 PM   |   Comments

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Pragaash, the first all-girl rock band in Indian-controlled Kashmir, decided to break up after orders to cease were issued by Kashmir's state-appointed cleric Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad.

Teen girls Farah Deeba (drums), Aneeqa Khalid (bass guitar) and Noma Nazir (guitar and vocals), placed third at the annual Battle of the Bands in Srinagar — an event organized by an Indian paramilitary force to win support in the region.

Soon after, the girls were called "prostitutes and sluts," with some people online demanding their exile. Although elected official Omar Abdullah issued a statement in support of the group, Pragaash disbanded after cleric Ahmad publicly stated they should "stop from these activities."

Pragaash, which means 'first light' in Kashmiri, would have been content to stay in the studio — until the fatwa was issued. Adnan Mattoo, the band's music teacher and manager says "first, the girls had decided to quit live performance due to an online hate campaign and concentrate on making an album. But after an edict by the government's own cleric, these girls are saying goodbye to music."

But the Times of India is reporting a silver lining for Pragaash, as musician Vishal Dadlani comes out with her support. Vishal offered to record an album with the band, and says he'll help them get to Mumbai. "If they think it's unsafe for them to live in Kashmir, they can come to Mumbai."

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