Srinagar (PTI): A spate of online abuses against Kashmir's only girl rock band Pragaash, which apparently forced the members to quit and evoked public outrage, has jolted the police into action. Three people have been arrested from different parts of Kashmir for threatening the girls.
Irshad Ahmad Chara, resident of S D Colony in Batamaloo, was arrested late on Wednesday night, police sources said. Two more arrests were made the same night - Tariq Khan from Bijbehara, a town in south Kashmir, and Rameez Shah from Ganderbal in central Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been vocal in his support for the band, welcomed the arrests.
Police were tracking down the Internet Protocol addresses of 26 users whose comments, out of the total 900 posts on the band's Facebook page, were found to be abusive, officials said. They said there had been a delay of three days in lodging an FIR as it took time to run past the flood of comments.
A case of criminal intimidation and under section 66A of the Information Technology Act has been registered.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Ashok Prasad, who is monitoring the case, has ordered more patrolling in the areas where two of the three band members live.
A member of Pragaash, meaning light, had on Tuesday announced that the band was quitting because of a decree by Kashmir's grand mufti, who finds singing un-Islamic.
"We respect the Mufti sahib who said it (singing) is 'haram'. We respect the opinion of people of Kashmir as well, so we are quitting," she said, denying that this had anything to do with the online abuses.
The band's members had been receiving warnings - even rape threats - on the social media ever since they first performed in Srinagar two months ago. As the attacks grew in intensity, they decided to stop public performances and focus on producing an album.