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'Rushdie a criminal from a religious point of view'

Last updated on: January 20, 2012 17:36 IST

'Rushdie a criminal from a religious point of view'

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Muslim groups on Friday welcomed the cancellation of controversial author Salman Rushdie's visit to the Jaipur Literary festival and said their protest no longer stands.

Representatives of various groups who were opposed to the visit had already withdrawn their proposed protest on Thursday night following assurance by local police and administration, but when they came to know that the organisers announced cancellation on Friday, they expressed satisfaction.

"We welcome the move because it is related with religious sentiments of all the Muslims," Mohammad Salim, National Secretary of Jamat-e-Islami Hind, said in Jaipur.

"We were against the particular author not against the festival. We see Rushdie as a criminal from a religious point of view because he wrote objectionable things about our Prophet.

Freedom of expression does not give right to write or say anything as Rushdie did," he said.

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Image: Salman Rushdie
Photographs: Jay Mandal

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'We had planned peaceful but unprecedented mass protests'

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"As far as the intelligence inputs are concerned, we doubt it. I take it as a mere drama by the author," Mohammad Salim said.

"We had planned peaceful but unprecedented mass protests against his visit but of course anti-social elements sometime try to create disturbances and we did not want anything like that to happen, so we apprised the organisers as well as the local administration about our apprehension yesterday (Thursday)," he said.

Mohammad Nazimuddin, another representative said that they had planned peaceful protests.

Nazimuddin said, "Protests were certain and inevitable because it is not a personal matter, it is the matter of the entire community. No one would like to hear anything about his religious prophet and so we decided to protest."

He also claimed that various Muslim groups had planned joint and peaceful protests.

"Now we are happy that the visit of Rushdie has been cancelled," he said.

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Image: Activists of Pakistan the Awami Tehrik party take part in a protest against British author Salman Rushdie in Karachi
Photographs: Zahid Hussein/Reuters

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'Would be irresponsible to come and endanger the life of others'

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Festival organisers read out a statement by the Booker Prize winning author, which said, "For several days I have made no public comments on this issue at the request of local authorities hoping that they would put in place arrangements to allow me to come and speak.

"But I have been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from Mumbai underworld might be on their way to eliminate me.

While I have doubts about these intelligence inputs, it would be irresponsible for me to come and endanger the life of fellow authors and others," the author said.


Image: Jaipur Literary Festival


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