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Rushdie blames Islamic terrorists for J&K problems
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The Rediff Interview/ Salman Rushdie

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January 17, 2007 01:15 IST

Blaming Islamic terrorists for the Kashmir problem, author Salman Rushdie has said 'they have contributed to the unhappiness of Kashmiri people'.

Rushdie, whose latest book Shalimar the Clown is set against the backdrop of Kashmir, said terrorists have brought 'an intolerant Islam into the Kashmir valley'.

"Well, I think that now there is a terrible amount of oppression of Kashmiri Muslims by this other kind of Islam. That's important. But, before that and still there is terrible misbehaviour by members of Indian armed forces and you know that's a sad thing to say but you know its true. And the one creates the other," he told NDTV.

Asked whether he was worried that his comments may offend ordinary Indians, he said, "It's not a falsification of the situation. And I have to say one of the strangest things about this book, given my history as you were saying in India, is that I found myself being praised by both Manmohan Singh and Advani."

The Mumbai-born author, who is in India to speak at the Virasat literary festival in Jaipur, said coming back to India was still special.

"For me its always, you know its like drinking at the well. Every so often you have to come to the well to drink," he said.

Asked whether Pakistan's Karachi where his parents migrated to in 1960s was also part of his identity, he said 'not really, I know which side I am on, in the cricket test. It's always India'.

Asked whether he still felt offended that India had been the first country in the world to ban the The Satanic Verses, Rushdie said, "It's not offensive. It's just wrong. But I am sure you can get a copy easily if you wish to."

Standing by his controversial comments on the veil, Rushdie said, "Mostly in the west, some, mostly young women, are adopting the veil as a badge of identity and are asserting their right to do."

"I am not talking about banning things but I think they do a disservice to their sisters in other parts of the world where there isn't such choice. If they were in Afghanistan, they would have been forced. To be able to make a choice is fine, but I think to adopt that as a badge of pride is assisting the oppression of women who don't have a choice," he said.

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