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Three arrested for threats to Kashmiri all-girl band

Three people accused of posting threats on social networking sites against the Kashmir girl rock band Pragaash have been arrested, an official said on Thursday. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said more arrests were possible.

The arrests took place late Wednesday after special investigating team (SIT) headed by a deputy superintendent probed the threats against the three-member all-girl band, police said.

‘One was arrested from Baba Wayil village of Ganderbal district, the other from Srinagar city and the third from south Kashmir's Anantang district,’ a police official said.

The chief minister expressed satisfaction over the arrests and said more were possible.

‘I am glad police in Kashmir has identified and arrested two people for the online threats made to the girls. I'm told more arrests possible,’ Abdullah tweeted on Thursday.

Noma Nazir, 15, Aneeqa Khalid, 16, and Farah Deeba, 15, had formed the Kashmir valley's first all-girl rock band 'Pragaash' last year.

In December 2012, the band participated in the 'Battle of Bands' competition in Srinagar, where they finished third.

Following posting of abusive threats against them and a fatwa by Kashmir's Grand Mufti, Bashiruddin, the girls decided to wind up the band.

Aneeqa Khalid had said at a press conference on Monday that they had decided to disband Pragaash in deference to the Grand Mufti's statement. She said they were not feeling threatened, but were sad they could no longer pursue their passion.


RIGHTS GROUP TO FILE SUIT AGAINST GRAND MUFTI


A civil society human rights group on Thursday said they would file a case against Kashmir's Grand Mufti for issuing fatwas which project the state in bad light internationally.  Pervez Imroze, patron of Jammu and Kashmir coalition for civil society told media persons here on Thursday: ‘He is a self-appointed religious leader who has been issuing fatwas, which project Kashmir and Kashmiris in bad light internationally.’ Earlier he issued a fatwa against the Christians and now he has issued another one against these girls, he said. ‘He is protected by the state government and has been trying to establish his own legal system. We have decided to move the court against his right to issue intimidating fatwas,’ said Imroze. The Grand Mufti had recently issued a fatwa against three girls who formed Pragaash, the valley's first all-girl rock band. Three people accused of posting threats on social networking sites against the girl band have been arrested, an official said on Thursday. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said more arrests were possible.


THOSE WHO THREATENED WON'T BE SPARED: OMAR

Government will not spare those who issued threats to Kashmiri girl band, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdulhah on Thursday said, but maintained there was no need for legal action against the grand mufti who issued fatwa terming singing as un-Islamic.

Abdullah, during a visit to dargah of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisiti here, expressed happiness over the arrests made in connection to the online abuse and threats to the all-girl rock band 'Pragaash' and said more arrests were likely.

He said some of those who had issued threats had left the valley and police were trying to nab them.

Referring to grand mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, through a decree, terming singing as ‘un-Islamic’ and asking the girl band to abandon it, Omar said there was no need to take legal action against him as he has not violated any law.

Omar had earlier posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter that he was glad that the police in Kashmir has identified and arrested those who had issued online threats.  ‘I'm told more arrests possible,’ he tweeted.

Three persons have been arrested from Ganderbal, Anantnag and Srinagar districts for posting threatening and abusive messages on the Facebook page of Pragaash.

Police have started tracking down the internet protocol addresses of the 26 users whose comments, out of the total 900 posts on the band's Facebook page, were found abusive, officials said.

A case has been registered against them under Section 66A of IT Act and Section 506 RPC (criminal intimidation).

The band, consisting of base guitarist Aneeqa Khalid, singer Noma Nazir and drummer Farah Deeba, decided to call it quits in view of the grand mufti's decree. The group had been the target of an online hate campaign.
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