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Rushdie's video session: Will he, won't he?

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  Jaipur, January 23, 2012
First Published: 21:21 IST(23/1/2012) | Last Updated: 08:37 IST(24/1/2012)

Salman Rushdie continues to be the newsmaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival. On Monday, uncertainty prevailed over the writer's video session planned for the concluding day of the five-day event.


Organisers said Tuesday could see a session with Rushdie, who cancelled his Jaipur visit citing intelligence inputs on threat to his life. “We are set to do it, Salman is set to do it, and with permission from the state government it will happen,” said William Dalrymple, co-director of the festival.

The government would take a final decision on Tuesday, home secretary GS Sandhu said.

“We have asked for details of what would be discussed in the video conference. Though permission is not required for video-conferencing, we will take a final view on Tuesday,” he told HT.

The government warned if Rushdie would read from his banned book The Satanic Verses or if a law and order problem would surface, cases would be filed against the organisers.

The Rushdie session —Midnight’s Child — is planned for 3.45pm. The author will discuss his childhood, his work, and the adaptation of his novel, Midnight’s Children, into a film.
It is not clear if he will take questions. “We have had sessions in the past without the question-answer session — that is the author’s prerogative,” festival producer Sanjoy Roy said.

The police, Roy told mediapersons late in the evening, had asked for session details.

National secretary of the Jamaat-i-Islami Hind, Mohammed Salim Engineer, who was at the festival Monday, said the group would have protested Rushdie's visit and didn't rule out a protest against the video session.

“We have the right to protest. All sections and all ideologies should be allowed to express themselves,” he said.

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