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Salman Rushdie's video chat CANCELLED

Last updated on: January 24, 2012 16:38 IST

Salman Rushdie's video chat CANCELLED

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Abhishek Mande in Jaipur

Ending the suspense, Jaipur Literature Festival organisers on Tuesday cancelled the video session with controversial author Salman Rushdie after the owners of the venue refused to hold the event citing security concerns.

The Rushdie session -- Midnight's Child -- was planned for 1545 hours where the India-born author was expected to discuss his childhood, his work, problems faced in the past years and the adaptation of his novel Midnight's Children into a film.

But Ram Pratap Singh Diggi, owner of Diggi Palace, venue of the Jaipur LitFest, came on stage to announce that he had decided to call off the video uplink with Rushdie because of security concerns. "A large number of people were unhappy with the uplink, they were marching on the Diggi Palace, violence has been threatened, and the uplink was called off for the sake of the security of the property, the attendees, and our children."

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Arshad Khan of the Indian Muslim Forum, along with some of his supporters, told rediff.com that should the session go as planned, they would stage a protest.

"They (festival organisers) are trying to make a hero out of Rushdie and we will not tolerate this, he said adding that they would do anything they could to stop the session. Jo hum se banega, karenge (whatever we can do, we will do)".


Earlier in the day, festival producer Sanjoy Roy told media persons that they had received information that there was no requirement of any permission.


"Rushdie's presence – both physical or through video link will be hurtful to us. They are hurting our sentiments, they are forcing us to react," said Abdul Paiker, a representative of the All India Milli Council.

 

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Police Commissioner B L Soni and Additional Commissioner Biju George Joseph also rushed to the site as the delegation held a meeting with festival producer Roy.

 

"We have groups who will protest on every road if the video link takes place and if they do not withdraw in immediately," said another protester Maulana A M Bharti.

 

The delegation of 30 people, who had come to speak to the organisers, also offered namaz at the venue, right opposite the front lawns where the video conferencing was scheduled to take place.

The 65-year-old author's Satanic Verses has been banned in India for allegedly hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community. The book cast a shadow on the Festival when four authors read out passages from it leading to complaints against them and the organisers in courts in Jaipur and Ajmer.

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