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Rushdie to address JLF via video link on Tuesday

January 23, 2012 20:40 IST

The much awaited question of whether Salman Rushdie would be present at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 was finally answered a few minutes ago when Sanjoy Roy, the festival's producer, told us that the author would be addressing the festival audience via a video link at 3:45 pm on Tuesday.

Roy said that the general content of the session would revolve around the movie adaptation of Rushdie's controversial novel Midnight's Children and the life and times of the Booker Prize winning author.

It was also told that till now the police have not issued any guideline for the video conferencing.

However, there was no mention about Satanic Verses or the fatwa here, but there will be a lot of people who will be watching the event closely on Tuesday.

For most part of the day, there has been anticipation about whether or not the police and other authorities would permit the festival organisers to let Rushdie be present even virtually.

Earlier on Monday, speaking to, the national secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami-e-Hind Mohammed Saleem Engineer mentioned that he had no objection to Rushdie being present either in person or via video link. However, he added that had the author arrived, his organisation would have protested 'democratically, peacefully and within the (boundaries of the) law'.

Engineer added that technology is for anyone who can access it and that his only issue would be if Rusdhie would say something that would offend the sentiments of the Muslims in his address.

The Rushdie controversy has so far claimed at least four victims -- Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi -- who were asked to leave Jaipur after they read out passages from the Satanic Verses.

Kunzru has been warding off trolls on his twitter account since then while Kumar's last tweet was on Saturday, stating, "I have left the building. In fact, I have been seated on the tarmac for hours."

While Ruchir Joshi, who was perhaps the most vocal of them all having urged people to read the passages and 'break the law', has been more or less been quiet about the whole affair, Jeet Thayil only just broke his silence.

He told's Priyanka in New Delhi, "All of them (Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple and Sanjoy Roy) not just asked us to leave the venue of the festival but also Jaipur."

The announcement finally seems to give a sense of closure to an issue that has been festering for almost a month now.

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Abhishek Mande in Jaipur