Appearance at Jaipur Literary Festival called off following threats by Muslims
Organizers of one of the biggest literary festivals in India have been forced to cancel an appearance by Sir Salman Rushdie following demands by the government of Rajasthan who fear major protests by Muslims at the event, according to reports from India.
The booker-prize winning author of Midnight’s Children was set to be the major draw at the Jaipur Literary Festival. However the author’s trip has been cancelled following a demand made by the Darul Uloom Deoband Islamic Seminary – one of the most powerful bodies in the Islamic world. The vice chancellor of the seminary publicly demanded the government in Delhi refuse a visa to Rushdie who in turn tweeted that he didn’t require an entry document to the India as he was categorized as a ‘Person of Indian Origin’.
Soon after Rushdie’s tweet, jittery state officials are reported to have persuaded Festival organizers to ask the author to cancel his visit, due to “massive security concerns”. Anxiety in political circles has been heightened in Rajasthan state as well as Delhi due to impending local government elections, reports say.
Sir Salman’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses provoked outrage throughout the Islamic world, leading to the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his death over claims made by the novel’s narrator that disputed verses in the Koran had been disclosed by the Archangel Gabriel.
The Satanic Verses was banned throughout the Islamic world, including India, which has a Muslim population of nearly 200 million.
– Vijitha Alles (17.01.2012)