Current Affairs

46 Assam Mullahs Issue Fatwa Against Singer Nahid Afrin

Prabin Kalita

GUWAHATI (India): Forty-six Muslim clerics in Assam have issued a fatwa against up-and-coming singer Nahid Afrin, who was the first runner-up in the 2015 season of a musical reality TV show, asking her to stop performing in public.

Police said they were investigating whether the fatwa was a reaction to 16-year-old  Nahid recently performing songs against terrorism, including the Islamic State terror group. "We are looking at this angle as well," ADG (special branch) Pallab Bhattacharyasaid.

Leaflets bearing the fatwa in Assamese and the names of the clerics were distributed across Hojai and Nagaon districts in central Assam. According to the fatwa, a March 25 program at Udali Sonai Bibi College in Lanka, Assam, where Nahid is scheduled to perform is "against the Sharia".

"If anti-Sharia acts like musical nights are held on grounds surrounded by masjids, idgahs, madrassas and 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 news of the fatwa. "I am speechless. I think my music is God's gift to me. I will never bow down to it (such warnings) and never leave singing," she said.

 Her mother added, "The organizers of the musical night told us that the program on March 25 will not be cancelled." Police said Nahid and 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 reality TV. Her beautiful renditions of songs written and composed by the Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardeva have made her especially popular in Assam.

Nahid Afrin who was the Indian Idol Junior first runner-up in 2015, has been singing against ISIS, terrorism and sharia laws. The imams, who represent a variety of Muslim organizations, want her to stop performing on stage.

Nahid said: “I am a singer and music is my life. I don’t think I can survive without music. Allah has blessed me with this voice for singing, and I’ll die if I am not allowed to sing,” she added.

Fellow Bollywood singer Salim Merchant came out in support of Afrin. “What do I say? This keeps happening in our country, in our society,” Merchant said to IndianExpress.com.  “I feel really sad that especially little girls are targeted these days, which is unfortunate. Music or any kind of art has nothing to do with religious misbeliefs. Nahid is a wonderful girl and more than that she is a very good follower of her faith. She is not at all against any faith. She is religious and a God-fearing girl. My full support is with her.”