Salman Rushdie cancels India trip after death threat
Friday 20 January 2012
Booker-Prize winning author Salman
Rushdie cancelled plans to appear at an Indian literature festival
today after protests from Muslim clerics and warnings that he could be
targeted for assassination.
Rushdie's planned appearance at the Jaipur Literary Festival had reawakened the long dormant controversy over his 1988 book The Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
He spent years in hiding after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for his death for writing the book, which was also banned in India.
In recent weeks, the head of the influential Darul Uloom seminary urged the Indian government to bar Rushdie from the festival, and the chief minister of the state of Rajasthan, where Jaipur is located, said Rushdie should stay away because of security concerns.
Organisers of the five-day festival, which began today, postponed an event with Rushdie that had been planned for the first day, but still hoped he would attend.
But today they read out a statement from the British-Indian author saying he had decided to cancel his trip after being informed by intelligence sources 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," he said.
The controversy over Rushdie's attendance clouded the opening of the festival, which will be attended by tens of thousands of people who have come to see Oprah Winfrey and literary stars such as Michael Ondaatje, Tom Stoppard and Annie Proulx.
William Dalrymple, an author and an organiser of the festival, said: "It is tragic."
Organisers said they hoped to be able to hold an event with Rushdie via video conferencing.
Organiser Sanjoy Roy said: "We are trying to work out the technical details of this. Most likely it is going to happen."
The 64-year-old author attended the annual festival in 2007 without incident.
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...