Srinagar: Amid reports that an all-girl rock group from Kashmir might disband after receiving death threats and hate mail on their Facebook page, the state police has filed a first information report and has begun a search for those who have attacked the girls online. Police sources said most of them have been identified and that they could be arrested.
The abusers will be booked under section 66A of the IT Act under which they can be sent to jail for three years, fined upto a maximum of Rs two lakh or both.
There has been much dismay across the country at the band being forced to give up and musicians, politicians and others have rallied in their support. (Support Kashmir's all-girls band: comment here)
The three schoolgirls have had to face not just the hate campaign, but also a head priest, Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, denouncing them as "un-Islamic." The band's manager Adnan Matoo had said yesterday that the unnerved girls would stop live performances, but there are reports now that they are contemplating quitting the band. Mr Matoo said the teens broke down after seeing the abusive comments online.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told NDTV that he will offer security for the band, but that it is up to them to decide whether they want to play. The chief minister tweeted," Given the importance the people attach to the fatwas of the Grand Mufti, the less said the better." He later deleted that post. When asked why, he told NDTV: "Once there is something on Twitter, even for a minute, it is forever. I put it and then deleted it after I got the reaction I wanted." (Watch what Omar Abdullah said)
The chief minister also said that the mufti is not appointed or paid by the government. Explaining why he hasn't ordered his arrest, the chief minister said, "He hasn't actually threatened them, he just told them to stop," Mr Abdullah said, adding, "Were he to have threatened the security of the girls, then that would have been a different situation."
The band, Pragaash (which means First Light), shot to prominence in December when it won an annual "Battle of Bands" competition held in Srinagar, the state capital.