Salman Rushdie was seated; attacker Hadi Matar climbed the stage: How it unfolded

Updated on Aug 13, 2022 11:18 AM IST

Salman Rushdie's attacker Hadi Matar had a pass to attend the event where the controversial author was scheduled to speak about the United States as a safe haven for exiled artistes. As Rushdie was introduced, Hadi Matar climbed on the stage from the left side and stabbed Rushdie multiple times.

Author Salman Rushdie fell down after being stabbed multiple times on the stage. (via REUTERS)
Author Salman Rushdie fell down after being stabbed multiple times on the stage. (via REUTERS)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Author Salman Rushdie was brutally stabbed by a 24-year-old Muslim man Hadi Matar at the stage of an event in New York City where the writer was about to deliver his speech on the United States as a safe haven for exiled writers. Videos of the incident show how the writer fell down on the stage and was then airlifted to the hospital where he is being treated. Salman Rushdie's agent said he suffered a grave injury in his abdomen damaging his liver. The writer may lose an eye, his agent said. Also Read | ‘Champion of free speech’: Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Emmanuel Macron among leaders condemning attack on Salman Rushdie

Here is how the attack unfolded:

The attack took place at around 11am (local time) when the event was about to begin. Salman Rushdie was being introduced when the attacker, dressed in black, jumped onto the stage and stabbed the writer several times.

An endocrinologist in the audience told the New York Times that Rushdie fell down with multiple stab wounds and one was on the right side of his neck. He was lying in a pool of blood. People were screaming, 'He has a pulse, he has a pulse', the doctor said.

Also Read: Salman Rushdie may lose eye, is on ventilator, his agent says

The audience did not, at first, understand what was happening. It was not clear to them whether Salman Rushdie was being stabbed or punched.

The attacker, later identified as a 24-year-old man sympathiser of the Iranian government that had called for Rushdie's death, was caught immediately and the audience was asked to leave the venue calmly.

A reporter of the Associated Press, Joshua Goodman, who was present at the event, said he arrived at the outdoor amphitheatre when the programme was just about to begin. Some audience members even joked nervously that they did not want to be in the front row, Joshua said adding that the security of the place was very lax. “There was a moment of shock,” he said. “Everyone in the audience was sitting in disbelief.”

One person who was sitting in the front row told New York Times he saw the attacker coming from the left side of the stage. There was blood all over Rushdie's cheeks, he said.

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