Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke to 14-year-old singer Nahid Afrin and assured her of security, a day after a group of Muslim clerics released a pamphlet calling a musical night featuring her performance as un-Shariat activity. Afrin had featured in the Indian Idol Junior 2015 contest. The pamphlet released Monday did not have Afrin’s name, but mentioned the musical night in Hojai scheduled for March 25 where she is supposed to perform.
“Some of our brethren have, of late indulged in a lot of anti-Shariat activities. Magic, dance, music, plays and theatre etc are all actually anti-Shariat activities. Thus, we, the Aleems, Ulamas and other responsible people cannot remain silent to such activities,” the pamphlet, issued by 46 representatives of organisations such as the Assam State Jamiat Ulama, Jamia Assam, Darul Hadish and various other organisations, said.
Sonowal on Wednesday said the move was “despicable” and cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. “Such a ruling against practising art and culture is unacceptable and is tantamount to infringement of one’s freedom of cultural rights,” the Chief Minister’s statement said. Sonowal spoke to Afrin over telephone and assured her of all steps to ensure her security so that she could continue pursuing her vocations fearlessly and bring laurels to the state.
Afrin is a Class IX student in Biswanath Chariali, about 260 km from Guwahati. “The government will not tolerate any move to bog down any artiste in the state. A section of vicious forces is hell-bent to disturb the age-old bonhomie of Assam. The state’s amity and integrity will be upheld at any cost,” Sonowal said.
Afrin said she would continue to sing. “Allah has given me this wonderful gift of singing, and I must utilise this gift for the people. I do not sing for myself, but for my people,” she said. The police have not registered any case as yet. Hojai SP Devojyoti Mukherji said: “We are keeping tabs on things and we will ensure that Nahid Afrin comes to Hojai and performs without any hassle.”