By Fahad Shah
Jaipur, January 20: Putting off the controvery around his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2012, the world reknown author, Salman Rushdie has issued a statement which was read out here today at the venue by the Producer of the festival, Sanjoy Roy. Adding to the statement one of the directors of the festival, William Dalrymple said Rushdie is one of India’s great writers and people should shower rose petals on him rather than this.
Rushdie has said that for the last several days he has made no public comment about his proposed trip to the Jaipur Literary Festival at the request of the local authorities in Rajasthan. He has said he did so, “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,” Rushdie has said.
The Islamic Seminary Darul Uloom Deoband had said the government should cancel his visa as he had hurt religious sentiments of Muslims in the past. “Indian government should cancel his visa as Rushdie had annoyed the religious sentiments of Muslims in the past,” Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the Vice Chancellor of Darul uloom, said when the participation of Rushide was made public.
Adding to that the Mumbai-based Raza Academy had also planned to humiliate the author over his “blasphemous” content in his novel, The Satanic Verses. According to the home ministry, Saeed Noorie, general secretary of Raza Academy, has announced a ‘reward’ of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who hurls a slipper at Rushdie.
The book which had sparked outrage in the Muslim world was banned by many countries and also by India, after a fatwa “to kill Rushdie” was issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989.