Abuses, threats can’t silence Kashmir’s only girl band #Vaw


Valley’s all-girl rock band after online slur still detremined
Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 1
The musical journey of Kashmir’s first and only all-girl rock band has come to an abrupt end after an online hate buzz.

The brainchild of three teenagers from the Valley, ‘Pragaash’ — a Kashmiri word meaning ‘from darkness to light’ — arrived on the music scene like a whiff of fresh air in a state plagued by violence for the last two decades. The 16-years-old made their first and last public performance at the ‘Battle of Bands’ here last December where they gave bands that mostly comprise of boys a run for their money.

But days after their debut, the band decided to call it quits. The reason: a vile barrage of abuses and hate messages about them and their families on the Internet, strong enough to force the young teen into hiding and abandoning their dream.

One of the girls, who talked to The Tribune on the condition that she would not be named, said the band had “ended”, but was reluctant to give reasons for the decision. “We have closed. It just ended… we had to hear so much from society that is why… I don’t want to tell anyone the reason,” she said.

The girl’s mother said she cried through the night after reading comments about the band on a social networking site. “The girls’ pictures were uploaded on a Facebook page and opinions were sought on whether making a band was wrong or right for our girls.

Some people wrote that the girls’ families had no food, which is why they were out to earn. After reading the comments, my daughter got very upset and cried all night. She decided not to do it again,” said the girl’s mother, adding that the family tried to talk her out of her decision. According to the girl’s mother, some posts appreciated the band; others didn’t. “Our religion does not allow this, our society doesn’t allow this,” she said.

‘Pragaash’ was a milestone in Kashmir’s music history for being the first rock band where the guitarist, drummer and vocalist were all girls. Women have enjoyed success in Kashmir singing folk songs, mystic poetry and romantic songs, but what set ‘Pragaash’ apart was its genre.

Band guitarist Aneeka Khalid, however, said the band had not been disbanded.

I rubbish the claims which have been made by some people quoting us that we will quit because of the threats ‘Pragaash‘ has received.

UN rapporteur arrives on fact-finding mission in Kashmir



The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns arrived on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmiron Monday afternoon.

This is for the first time that the special rapporteur has been allowed by the Indian government to visit the Valley.

Hayns told a news conference immediately after his arrival in SrinagarImages ] that his mandate was to visit different countries to asses the situation on right to life which is fundamental to all other human rights and report back to United Nations Human Rights Commission.

He said he will release the preliminary report in New DelhiImages ] on March 30 at the end his visit and submit the final report to the commission.

“During my stay I will be meeting government officials including those from the police, the Army, rights activists, victims and academicians etc.”

Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, Parveena Ahangar met the special rapporteur after his arrival.

Senior advocate, Zafar Shah told the media conference “Kashmiri people and civil society have been demanding for the last two decades that UN should visit Kashmir and prepare a fact based report.”

He said, “Sweeping powers such as the Public Safety Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act were available to the authorities which made normal judicial remedies unavailable to those seeking judicial intervention against misuse of powers by the security forces in Kashmir.”

The coalition of civil society members also met the special rapporteur and submitted detailed reports about the human rights situation in the Valley.

He had a close door meeting with relatives of those killed in some highly controversial incidents in the Valley.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar, Rediff.com

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