The Darul-Uloom Deoband’s demand to ban the entry of writer Salman Rushdie into the country took a political turn in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
With an eye on the 17% Muslim electorate in the state, leaders of most parties quickly took poll position. But leaders of the ruling BSP were unavailable for comment.Rushdie, who earned the wrath of Muslims worldwide for his book The Satanic Verses, is scheduled to attend the January 20-24 Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan’s capital.
The Deoband chief Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani said he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to cancel Rushdie’s visa. “In case of no response from the UPA government, the Darul-Uloom Deoband will take appropriate action.”
The newly-inducted Congress working committee member Rasheed Masood said Muslims could not forgive Rushdie. “In view of the UP assembly election, the entry could generate reaction. The Jaipur programme should be cancelled.”
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Rushdie’s arrival during election time was not proper and it would not be wise if the UPA government gave him visa.
Rashtriya Lok Dal legislature party leader Kaukab Hamid said, “Urgent action should be taken to stop Rushdie’s entry.”
Hamid said the writer had hurt the religious feelings of Muslims by making objectionable comments against Prophet Mohammad in his 1998 book.
Samajwadi Party leader Ahmad Hasan said the UPA government had been appeasing anti-Muslim forces across the world. He said Rushdie’s entry should be banned.
Expressing his opinion, All India Muslim Personal Law Board general secretary and spokesman Abdur Rahim Quereshi supported the seminary’s demand. Quereshi said from Hyderabad that the Centre’s permission to Rushdie for Jaipur festival was aimed at hurting the sentiments of Muslims.