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Kashmir girl band quits after fatwa

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An all-girl teenage rock band from Indian-administered Kashmir has decided to split after the region's top Muslim cleric declared their music to be "un-Islamic", their manager said Tuesday.

Pragaash, a three-piece group whose members are still in high school, had been the target of an online hate campaign ever since winning a "Battle of the Bands" contest in December.

But after initially insisting they would continue making music, they have now called its quits after the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad, branded them as "indecent" and issued a fatwa calling for them to disband.

"After the fatwa the girls decided to quit and disband," Adnan Mattoo, the band's manager, said in brief comments to AFP.

The mother of one of the girls confirmed that her daughter had decided to leave the band, saying she was staying with relatives outside Kashmir until the fuss died down.

"My daughter had been depressed and irritable so we decided to send her away to another city for some time," said the mother, who did not want to give her name.

The comments by the grand mufti have been widely criticised with the state's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah among those calling on the band not to be intimidated into giving up on music.

Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state and hardline Islamists have a reputation for trying to impose Islamic law, forcing the closure of cinemas and liquor stores with the onset of an anti-India insurgency in 1990.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130209/kashmir-girl-band-quits-after-fatwa