Ending weeks of speculation, the writer finally broke his silence on his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival
As the session on Barack Obama came to an end, media persons were informed of a press statement about the 'Rushdie situation' by the organisers.
So far William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale and the festival producer Sanjoy Roy were silent on the issue refusing to comment either way maintaining a strict silence only reiterating that their invitation to Rushdie stood.
However this afternoon, Roy, reading out a statement from the noted writer, expressed his disappointment as did Dalrymple and Gokhale.
This was the statement:
For the last several days I have made no public comment about my proposed trip to the Jaipur Literary Festival at the request of the local authorities in Rajasthan, hoping that they would put in place such precautions as might be necessary to allow me to come and address the Festival audience in circumstances that were comfortable and safe for all.
I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to "eliminate" me. While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the Festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience, and to my fellow writers. I will therefore not travel to Jaipur as planned.
Dalrymple who cited Rusdhie's book Enchantress of Florence and pointed out that the writer was far from being Islamophobic, added that had he arrived, Rushdie would have been greeted with 'rose petals' rather than 'this nonsense'.
The organisers refused to take any questions on the issue.
With this, the speculation over whether Salman Rushdie would arrive or not has finally come to an end. There are however, as Dalrymple concluded, 262 other writers in the festival.