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Separatist Groups Divided on Support to J&K Girl Band
The controversy over Kashmir's first all-girl rock band 'Pragaash' has brought to fore differences among separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

While Dukhtaran-e-Millat warned the girls of social boycott, Muslim Khawateen Markaz (MKM) today denounced the fatwa of the Grand Mufti against their singing and termed the threat of ostracisation as "unwarranted".

"There are much bigger issues where fatwas can be issued. Why has there been no fatwa against male singers? Why has there been no fatwa against girls participating in government or army functions," Zamaruda Habib, patron of MKM told PTI.

Zamaruda said the fatwa is nothing but politics and these things are giving a "bad name" to Kashmir.

"In the wake of controversies concerning women, what has concerned us in a terrible way is the upsurge in domestic violence and bride burning issues that have come to the fore.

"It is a catastrophic situation where we see very few men in the community getting agitated by such brutal acts of violence perpetrated against women. This shows the Islamic or humanistic morals of our society are being shoved under political excuses and remain at the bay from larger male consciousness," she said.

She said, the MKM believes in the freedom of expression of art, music and grace that "suits and defines us as a nation".

"The entire male leadership has plunged into the verbose 'fatwa' throwing and concerning itself with obscure teen girls' music band and made it a centre point of the value system of the society," she said.

"Rather than ignoring it and allowing people freedom to develop their own understanding, they have reiterated the whole contention about 'male' centric leadership in Kashmir," she lamented.

"Why have no diktats come for male bands or all that Kashmiri boys have indulged into?" Habib questioned citing examples of recent incidents of burning of women and throwing acid on them.

Reacting to the threat of social boycott of girls of the band by another women separatist outfit, Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), she said, the MKM is against it.

"I respect Asiya'ji (DeM chief), but I do not support social boycott. It is unwarranted. Why should we boycott our girls," she said.

She expressed concern over the way women's issues are being handled and said young girls should not be threatened.

"We should educate our daughters and not threaten them. I will cut the tongues of anyone who says anything against any Kashmiri girl," she added.

Sensing the mounting support for the girls, hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani had distanced itself from the 'fatwa' by Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad and said, "there is no threat to the girls".
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