The fatwa culture in India is spreading like wild fire. Forty six clerics in Assam have issued a fatwa against upcoming singer Nahid Afrin who was the runner up in the 2015 season of music reality show, Indian Idol Junior.

Police said they were investigating whether the fatwa was a reaction to singing songs against Islamic State terror group. Assam ADG Pallab Bhattacharya said that they were looking at the angle as well. Leaflets bearing the fatwa in Assamese & the name of the clerics were distributed against Hojai & Nagaon in central Assam on Tuesday. According to the fatwa, a March 25th programme at Udali Soni Bibi College in Lanka, Assam, where Nahid, 16, is scheduled to perform “against the Sharia”.

“If Anti-sharia acts like musical nights are held on grounds surrounded by masjids, Idgahs, madrassas & graveyards, our future generations will attract the wrath of Allah,” it said. The young singer, a class X student who lives in Biswanath Chariali, broke down on hearing the news of the fatwa. Nahid said that she was speechless. She further added that music was God’s gift to her & she would never bow down to such warnings and never stop singing.

Her mother added, “The organisers of the musical night told us that the programme on March 25th will not be cancelled.” Police said Nahid& her family would be provided security cover. Nahid, who made her Bollywood debut singing for Sonakshi Sinha in the 2016 film ‘Akira’, first rose to stardom after her successful innings on the small screen reality show. Her beautiful renditions of songs written & composed by the Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankaradeva have made her popular all over the country.

Karnataka girl Suhana Syed also faced the wrath of Muslim clerics & fanatics after singing Hindu devotional songs in the reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa season 13. Suhana received a lot of support from people all over India. Nahid has also been appreciated for her talent & conviction. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also tweeted in Nahid’s support.

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen also appreciated Nahid for not succumbing to Islamic fanatics.

If the “Art has no limitations”, narrative still holds well, Nahid must be allowed to pursue her passion. Art has no restrictions, unless & until it isn’t hurting the nation or national sentiments. As simple as that!

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Alok Shetty