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Rushdie stopped by Cong to appease fringe elements: Ashis Nandy

January 24, 2012 20:29 IST

The entire chain of events at the Jaipur literary festival which led to Salman Rushdie's no show suggests that in India democracy is decreasing and 'psephocracy' is increasing, says Ashis Nandy, who spoke to rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt.

"The Congress party has always supported conservative Muslims than the ordinary, poor Muslims of India," said Ashis Nandy, scholar and socio-political analyst, told rediff.com on the Congress-led Rajasthan government's efforts to not allow author Salman Rushdie to attend the Jaipur literary festival.

When asked if he thought that the Congress government at the Centre and state stopped Rushdie from coming to Jaipur, Nandy said, "Of course! There is no doubt about it."

"The Mumbai police has made it clear that there was no intelligence sent to Jaipur about Salman (on alleged assassins being sent to Jaipur). The Rajasthan government says they got the information from the Intelligence Bureau, so it is very clear who stopped Rushdie from coming to India," Nandy said.

"The events suggest that in India democracy is decreasing and 'psephocracy' (election-based government) is increasing," he added.

Nandy emphasised that there was no point in not allowing Rushdie to visit India. "Even Iranians have forgotten The Satanic Verses," he argued.  

Nandy believes that the Congress handled the Rushdie affair in this particular manner to please fringe elements among the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.

"Congress will get some benefit from conservative Muslims in Uttar Pradesh for this, but not much. I can't say anything more because I don't have data on it. There are some people in our society who support political parties that support fringe elements of their community," Nandy said.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
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