Author Salman Rushdie cancelled his appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival after being informed that “paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld” were out to kill him, writes Manav Bhushan
Salman Rushdie, the Booker prize-winning author of Midnight’s Children as well and The Satanic Verses, which is banned in many countries including India, was slated to attend the Jaipur literature festival from 20 to 24 January 2012. At noon on the 20 January, Rushdie announced he was not going to attend because he had “been informed by intelligence sources that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld were on their way to eliminate him”. However, in an interview four days later, Rushdie said the original assassination threat had in fact been fabricated by someone within the intelligence agencies to coerce him into cancelling his trip.
Rushdie’s visit was also publicly opposed by several right-wing Islamic groups such as the Darul Uloom Deoband, as well as members of mainstream political parties including the Congress, which is in power in the state of Rajasthan (where Jaipur is located). After Rushdie cancelled his trip, the organisers promised he would join through a video link. Just hours before the video link was scheduled to commence, however, that too was cancelled due to security concerns.