Indian leaders react to attack on Salman Rushdie: Yet another reminder of…

Updated on Aug 13, 2022 10:57 AM IST

Widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest living writers, Salman Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 and earlier this year was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor.

Author Salman Rushdie is taken on a stretcher to a helicopter for transport to a hospital after he was attacked during a lecture in New York.(AP)
Author Salman Rushdie is taken on a stretcher to a helicopter for transport to a hospital after he was attacked during a lecture in New York.(AP)

Opposition leaders in India expressed shock at novelist Salman Rushdie being stabbed at an event in New York on Friday and raised concerns over the threat to freedom of expression. Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man when the India-born Booker-winning author was about to give a lecture in western New York. He was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery. (Also Read | Who attacked author Salman Rushdie? New Jersey's Hadi Matar was dressed in black)

Providing an update on the Rushdie's condition, the author's agent, Andrew Wylie, said that he was on a ventilator with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm. He also said that the 75-year-old novelist was likely to lose an eye.

“Utterly horrified & shocked by the stabbing of @SalmanRushdie. Wish him a speedy & complete recovery from his wounds, even though, with a sinking heart, I recognize that life for him can never be the same again. A sad day, worse if creative expression can no longer be free &open,” senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, himself a prolific writer, said in a tweet.

Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” was viewed as blasphemous by many Muslims and triggered violent protests in the Islamic World. The death threats forced Rushdie to go into hiding in Britain with round-the-clock security cover. He cautiously resumed more public appearances after nine years of seclusion but continued his outspoken criticism of religious extremism overall.

Former Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal called the attack “unacceptable” and stressed that we “must show zero tolerance towards hate.” He added that the attack on Rushdie was an attack on “free speech”, “culture of tolerance”, and "all that humanity stands for”.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “Condemn the cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie, this is yet another reminder of what hate and religious fanaticism can do. Here’s wishing the brave author a speedy recovery.”

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