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Hitmen alert a yarn spun by Rajasthan cops: Rushdie

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Jaipur, January 22, 2012
First Published: 08:13 IST(22/1/2012) | Last Updated: 02:12 IST(23/1/2012)

Two days after cancelling his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival citing intelligence inputs on a threat to his life, writer Salman Rushdie Sunday accused the Rajasthan Police of having concocted the threat to keep him away from the event.

"I've investigated and believe that I was indeed led to. I am outraged and very angry," Rushdie posted on microblogging site Twitter, reacting to reports that police had invented a plot to stymie his visit.  

The Booker Prize winner had pulled out of the event, saying "paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld" were planning to kill him. He quoted intelligence sources from Maharashtra and Rajasthan. But the Maharashtra Police Saturday denied having information of any threat to Rushdie.

Responding to a comment to his latest tweet, Rushdie said he didn't know if the Rajasthan Police gave the false intelligence information under instructions from someone. But the writer added, "The same police who want to arrest Hari (Kunzru), Amitava (Kumar), Jeet (Thayil) and Ruchir (Joshi). Disgusting."

Writers Kunzru, Kumar, Thayil and Joshi read extracts from Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which is banned in India, on the opening day of the festival (January 20) as a mark of protest over his cancelled visit.

The Rajasthan Police have received a complaint against the four for reading passages from the book. "We have received a complaint at Ashok Nagar police station, but no FIR has been lodged so far," Jaipur commissioner of police BL Soni said.

The complainant, Ashok Kumar, has demanded action against the writers for hurting the religious sentiments of a community and reading out from a banned book.

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