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Rushdie likely to address Jaipur fest via video


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Jaipur: “The Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie is likely to address the Jaipur Literature Festival via video link Tuesday, the organisers said, days after he cancelled his visit over security fears.

“We are trying to arrange for Rushdie to address the festival Tuesday afternoon via video. But we are yet to decide on the exact time,” said Sanjoy Roy, managing director of Teamwork Productions and producer of the festival.

Rushdie, who accused the Rajasthan police of inventing terror theories to keep him away from the festival, was keen to take part in the event but dropped his plans at the last moment due to security fears. He had been tweeting since then to express his anguish.

Rushdie is likely to address the festival around afternoon Tuesday to coincide with an aborted session, “Midnight’s Child”, which was supposed to host the writer. The session was dropped from the roster.

The video link is likely to be closely watched by some Muslim groups.

Mohammed Salim “Engineer”, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said here that Muslims would protest if Rushdie said “anything against the holy text in his speech”.

The national secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, an Islamic organisation, told IANS: “If a criminal comes to India, we will protest in a democratic manner.

“If anybody has the right to express anything about the text, then we will also democratically express our protest. It is the law-enforcing agencies’ duty to ensure that the law is not broken in the name of religion.”

Earlier a police complaint was filed against poet Jeet Thayil, writer Amitava Kumar, novelist Hari Kunzru and writer Ruchir Joshi for reading excerpts from “The Satanic Verses”, after which they reportedly left the festival. The organisers refused to comment further saying “the four were not told to leave”.

Reacting to the episode, Swami Agnivesh, who was at the festival to address a literary session, said: “The government should act in a responsible manner.

“An investigative agency should probe who had sent Rushdie the hoax message that paid assassins could kill him,” he said.

Not only did Rushdie receive threats from Islamic hardliners, but police said that paid assassins of the Mumbai underworld were out to kill him.

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1 Comment
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