Holding that ‘fatwas’ have no legal or constitutional basis, noted lawyer and human rights activist Vrinda Grover says steps should be taken to ensure protection for young Assamese singer Nahid Afrin, against whom some Islamic clerics have issued a ‘fatwa’.
The diktat threatens her right to life and liberty, Grover said. “Steps should be taken against those who issued the fatwas and the girl should be protected. You are not only abridging her freedom of expression but also threatening her right to life and liberty. The message needs to go out that these are completely unconstitutional,” Grover told IANS.
Over 40 clerics from Muslim organisations issued the ‘fatwa’ against the 16-year-old, restricting her from performing on stage, saying that such 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.
“The Supreme Court of India has said that these are unconstitutional, illegal orders. Yes, they have profound social impacts. These clerics have no business passing these kind of diktats,” Grover said ahead of the launch of ‘Flo Advocacy and Legal Cell’ by FICCI Ladies Organisation.
Reacting to the fatwas, Afrin has said she is not afraid and would not stop singing or performing till her death. Afrin had brought laurels for her state by becoming the 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”. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday tweeted: “Freedom of artists are essence of democracy. Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our government’s commitment to provide safety and security to artists.”