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Rushdie should have been allowed to come: Arun Jaitley

IANS  Chandigarh, January 24, 2012
First Published: 13:52 IST(24/1/2012) | Last Updated: 19:23 IST(18/2/2012)

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said author Salman Rushdie should have been allowed to come to India and given police protection.

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“He came to India during the Vajpayee government...Obviously, he should have been allowed,” Jaitley, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, told reporters here referring to Rushdie calling off his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival due to security fears.

Jaitley slammed the Congress government in Rajasthan for a "fake" police report to prevent Rushdie's visit.

“Even if there was a threat, protection should have been given,” he said, adding that the Rajasthan government faked a police report to claim a threat to Rushdie's life.

“First you misled Salman Rushdie by a fake police report so that he does not come, now I have read in paper that he may or may not be allowed to do the video conferencing,” he said.

"I believe the state government, under any law, does not have the right to stop videoconferencing," he said.

According to reports, the Rajasthan government initially was reluctant to allow a videoconference by Rushdie at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The organisers, however, later confirmed that the videoconference would take place Tuesday afternoon.

Rushdie had to cancel his scheduled visit to the festival in Jaipur over security fears. First, the proposed trip evoked protests from Muslim groups over his banned book, "The Satanic Verses", and then there were alleged threats from the underworld.

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