Organisers of Kolkata Literary Meet and Kolkata Book Fair have denied British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie's statement on Friday that he was invited to be a part of the literary carnival and said he was 'lying'.
“Rushdie is lying. He was never invited to the festival," Tridib Chatterjee, general secretary of Publishers and Book Sellers Guild, which organises Kolkata Book Fair, said in Kolkata.
"Ask him (Rushdie) to show his invitation. May be he is a renowned writer but he is lying,” Chatterjee said.
Asked whether there was any pressure from the government not to include Rushdie’s name in the invitation list, he said the guild organises the book fair and the government has nothing to do with it.
Echoing him, KLM organiser Malavika Banerjee said “We never invited Rushdie. His name was never included in our schedule.”
Although the Booker Prize winner’s name was never included officially in the list of speakers at the five-day KLM, which began here Wednesday at the Kolkata Book Fair premises, both Rushdie and film director Deepa Mehta have claimed the author was a 'surprise guest'.
"...I was indeed planning to take part in a session at the Kolkata Lit Meet along with the scheduled speakers Deepa Mehta, Rahul Bose, and Ruchir Joshi. The organizers were fully aware of this and had asked me to appear as a 'surprise guest'. If they now deny this, that is dishonest. They actually paid for my plane ticket," Rushdie said in a statement before flying out of the country Friday morning.
Mehta had tweeted on Thursday that the lit meet had paid for his Mumbai-Kolkata flight ticket.