DEFAULT
Salman Rushdie pulls out of Indian literary festival amid assassination fears
20 Jan 2012
BY ALICE PURKISS

Author Salman Rushdie has been forced out of the Jaipur Literary Festival, after receiving information suggesting hit-men had been ordered to assassinate him.

Muslim leaders had been calling for Indian-born Rushdie to be banned from the festival. Rushdie’s 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, which is inspired by the life of Muhammed, was perceived by Muslims to be blasphemous.  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie, calling on all good Muslims to kill the author. The book was banned across the world, including in India, where it is still banned.

This morning Rushdie announced his withdrawal from the festival.

Salman issued the following statement:

“For the last several days I have made no public comment about my proposed trip to the Jaipur Literary Festival at the request of the local authorities in Rajasthan, hoping that they would put in place such precautions as might be necessary to allow me to come and address the Festival audience in circumstances that were comfortable and safe for all.

I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to “eliminate” me. While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the Festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience, and to my fellow writers. I will therefore not travel to Jaipur as planned.”

Following the announcement, writer Salil Tripathi, who wrote about the controversy surrounding Rushdie’s visit earlier this week, suggested all writers at the festival should read from The Satanic Verses:

Author Hari Kunzru agreed, and planned, alongside academic Amitava Kumar, to do just that.

Kumar tweeted:

Organisers apparently ended the protest, warning those that individuals could face police action for reading a banned book.

10 responses to “Salman Rushdie pulls out of Indian literary festival amid assassination fears”

  1. […] due to objections of themes such as homosexuality, and the much-publicised cancelled visit of Salman Rushdie to the Jaipur Literary Festival due to “security […]

  2. […] arrival to the now must-attend literary festival was much publicised, and predictably attracted controversy.Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, vice-chancellor at India’s Muslim Deoband School, called for the […]

  3. […] Rushdie was right, of course. Years later, in 2007, he attended the first Jaipur Literary Festival in India unnoticed. Without any security or fuss, he arrived unannounced, mingling with the crowd. Things had changed dramatically by 2012, when Rushdie’s arrival to the now must-attend literary festival was much publicised, and predictably attracted controversy. […]

  4. […] The Satanic Verses were felt as recently as January this year, with the author being forced to pull out of the Jaipur Literary Festival amid assassination […]

  5. […] off that perfectly illustrated his observations. Salman Rushdie had been due to give a talk at the Jaipur Literature Festival about his Booker-winning novel Midnight’s Children, the film of which is to be released later […]

  6. […] proceedings after complaints were filed by among others, members of an organisation that campaigned against Salman Rushdie’s participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival. They allege that the festival […]

  7. […] the Rajasthan police apparently concocted a fictitious assassination plot leading Salman Rushdie to stay away from the Jaipur Literature Festival, the mood in Jaipur was glum. Everyone took the plot to be […]

  8. […] a detailed history of the Satanic Verses affair in 1988, which was back in the news last week, with reports that Salman Rushdie has cancelled his appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival, after receiving […]

  9. […] Rajasthan police apparently concocted a fictitious assassination plot leading Salman Rushdie to stay away from the Jaipur Literature Festival, the mood in Jaipur was glum. Everyone took the plot to be […]