Jaipur, Jan 23: British Indian writer Salman Rushdie will address the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) via video conferencing on Tuesday afternoon, media reports said on Monday, after the controversial author was made to cancel his visit following possibly concocted death threats.
Rushdie who expressed his outraged over what appeared to him a "ploy" by the Rajasthan Police to keep him away from the JLF to quell protests by a few Muslim groups, could hold a session via video conferencing at 3.45 pm on Tuesday, reports said. The Booker Prize winning writer had to cancel his planned visit to JLF on Friday after what he said the authorities warned him of possible bid on his life by hired assassins of Mumbai underworld.
But with the Mumbai police denying ever coming up with any such news, Rushdie now sees the entire episode as a ploy to keep him away from the festival. He was told that Mumbai underworld assassins were engaged to kill him, but the Mumbai Police later rubbished the news saying they had no such input ever.
An angry Rushdie on Sunday tweeted citing a news story in The Hindu: "‘Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdi". I've investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry." "Don't know who gave orders. And yes I guess the same police who want to arrest Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting," posted Rushdie. However, Rushdie has agreed to do a video link interaction from New York with the festival venue in Jaipur. Rushdie's decision to stay away from the festival triggered protests by the intellectuals in India who had gathered at the literary carnival in the historic city of Jaipur to take part in what is now Asia's biggest such festival.
They slammed the Indian authorities for failing to offer protection to the London-based writer who was in hiding for years earlier following the threats by the Islamic fundamentalists. The scheduled visit of Rushdie was under cloud ever since an Indian Islamic seminary protested his invitation to the festival, though he had graced it in the past without a whimper of protest.
Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband, which is based in a town in Uttar Pradesh state, had urged the Indian government to cancel the visa to the writer who penned The Satanic Verses, a book that had remarks against Prophet Mohammad. Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom, said that the government should cancel Rushdie's visa as he had hurt the 'religious sentiments' of Muslims through his writings in the past.