Music composer Vishal Dadlani, controversial writer Taslima Nasreen, actor Paresh Rawal and author Shobhaa De have come out in support of singer Nahid Afrin, against whom some Islamic clerics in Assam have issued a ‘fatwa’. They want her to ignore nasty threats and sing on — a conviction that the 16-year-old has promised to stand by.
Over 40 clerics from Muslim organisations issued the ‘fatwa’ against Afrin, banning her from performing on stage, saying that the performance by a girl on stage was against the “Sharia laws”. The clerics organisation had also distributed some leaflets in and around Udali area near Hojai in central Assam, asking the singer not to perform in a function scheduled for March 25.
Afrin was a runner-up in popular television show “Indian Idol Junior” in 2015. The young singer shot to fame after she made her debut in Bollywood with 2016 Sonakshi Sinha-starrer “Akira”. Dadlani, who judged “Indian Idol Junior” and also gave her a chance to sing in “Akira”, tweeted: “Anyone who tells a musician not to make music, doesn’t understand anything about spirituality. Shame on the people threatening #NahidAfrin.
“Just spoke with Nahid Afrin and her parents. They are standing strong. Told her that we all stand with her. She will not give up on music.” Dadlani also said “protecting her freedom and safety is the responsibility of the Assam government”.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday tweeted: “We strongly condemn putting restrictions on performance by young talented singer Nahid Afrin by some organisations.” Reacting to the fatwas, Afrin has also come out and said that she is not afraid and would not stop singing or performing till her death.
Nasreen has praised her bravado. “After getting fatwa from 46 mullahs in Assam, 16-year-old Nahid Afrin said she’ll never bow down and will never leave singing. Bravo girl,” tweeted the writer.
Shobhaa De tweeted: “Bravo Nahid Afrin. Ignore nasty threats and sing on. Your voice is a divine gift.” Paresh also posted: “Once again a shout out for award wapsi moron and jokers to take stand for Nahid Afrin!”
Union Minister of Law Ravi Shankar Prasad also extended support. “I fully stand with Nahid Afreen. She has got every right to sing. We are proud of her achievements.”
Politician Shazia Ilmi also called Afrin “a brave girl”. “All of us should raise our voice in her support! Down with Fatwa-espousing irrelevant radicals,” she tweeted.
Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja questioned celebrities for being mum on the issues. He posted: “42 Clerics Issue Fatwa Against Indian Idol Junior Singer Nahid Afrin. Bollywood Is Silent. Presstitutes Are Silent. Liberals Are Silent. FOE?”
Several organisations and individuals in Assam have come out to support the young singer and against the ‘fatwa’ issued against the singer and said that people of Assam will give security to her.