Video link cancelled, Salman Rushdie silenced again
Controversial author Salman Rushdie's video conference at the Jaipur Literature Festival has been called off finally after much flip flop over it. A dejected and hurt Sanjoy Roy said it's unfortunate that once again we are being bullied and have to step down, before leaving the stage in tears. Was the govt right? Take polljaipur Updated: Jan 24, 2012 18:53 IST
Controversial author Salman Rushdie's video conference at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur has been called off finally after much flip flop over it in Jaipur.
A dejected and hurt Sanjoy Roy said it's unfortunate that once again we are being bullied and have to step down, before leaving the stage in tears.
The venue owner said cancellation is unfortunate, but necessary to avoid violence. Sanjay Roy said, people were sent inside the venue to disrupt the video conference.
"In view of the resentment simmering in the city against Rushdie's (proposed) address, we have told the organisers that they cannot allow the writer to speak via video," Jaipur's Superintendent of Police Vijendra Jhala told media persons.
Minutes before Rushdie was to speak, dozens of Muslims started praying in the courtyard of the Diggi Palace. Some of them warned of consequences if the Rushdie address took place.
"Every mazhab (religion) teaches us to respect god within us, but those who insult god and religion have no business to be here," said a Muslim who did not wish to be named.
"He is a criminal writer as far as Muslims are concerned. He has insulted Prophet Mohammed and there is no way we will let him speak even if he is doing so from abroad. There will be trouble if the speech by Rushdie goes ahead. Muslims are never afraid of dying," he added.
On Tuesday noon, nearly 30 angry representatives of various Islamic organisations in Jaipur tried to enter the venue of the festival in protest against the video address by Rushdie, author of the banned book The Satanic Verses.
The protesters led by All India Milli Council leader, Paiker Farukh, a lawyer, who alleged that "the festival was trying to portray author Salman Rushdie as a hero".
"We have every right to protest in a democratic manner and if the Muslim population of Jaipur comes out in protest, you cannot prevent us. You cannot take us for a ride... we are not fools," Farukh told the media outside the venue at Diggi Palace.
The Muslim organisations had filed a petition at the court of an executive magistrate in Jaipur seeking a directive against Rushdie's address following which the court had summoned four organisers of the festival. But the organisers failed to turn up, a representative of the Muslim delegation said.
Police were summoned to placate the protesters. The commissioner of police reassured the protesters that their interests would be taken into account.
"We don't know about the fate of Rushdie's video address," a member of the core committee of the organisers then said.
Rushdie had called off his visit to Jaipur citing threats to his life from "paid assassins". But later he accused Rajasthan Police of hatching a plot about hitmen to keep him away from the festival where he was expected to be the star attraction. Some Muslim groups had also protested his proposed visit. But then the festival organisers said he would address the festival through a video link.
At 12 noon Tuesday, Roy, the producer of the festival, had said, "We are going ahead with the link at 3.45 pm, it will be the session originally planned -- Midnight's Child -- and his book's adaptation and his life and works and the problems he has faced in the past years.Muslims protest against Rushdie's video conference| Not bothered about legal issue: Jaipur Lit fest organizer| Rushdie should have been allowed to come: Jaitley
Rushdie welcome in Delhi, says Sheila Dikshit
With ageny input
First Published: Jan 24, 2012 15:52 IST