New Delhi: Salman
Rushdie's proposed visit to Jaipur for the Literary Festival came
under cloud after the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband
saying that the Booker-prize winning author should not be allowed
on Indian soil because he has hurt the sentiments of Muslims. The
organisers of the event however say that there is no threat to the
visit of the controversial writer.
"A literature festival is a place for free speech in the best
democratic tradition without being insulting to anybody, without
causing any harm to the sentiments of any section or group of
"If there are people who feel any particular angst about
the presence of Salman Rushdie, perhaps they should revisit his
work... and debate its merit or other issues at a platform which
is mutually acceptable," Sanjoy Roy, managing director of
Teamworks Productions, which produces the Jaipur Literature
Festival, told IANS.
"As far as the festival is concerned, Rushdie's visit was on as
scheduled," he added.
India's top Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband Monday opposed
Salman Rushdie's visit to India and asked the government not to
allow him to travel for a literary festival as the author had hurt
the sentiments of Muslims the world over.
"Rushdie should not be allowed to visit India. If he visits India,
it would be adding salt to the injuries of Muslims. He has hurt
our religious sentiments," Vice Chancellor of Deoband, India's
most influential Islamic seminary, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani told
IANS over phone from Deoband.
Nomani said the Darul Uloom was yet to formally write to the
government on the issue.
"We will write to the external affairs ministry, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi if the
government doesn't cancel his visa," Nomani said.
Rushdie has been invited to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival
Rushdie is expected to take part in literary sessions on "Inglish,
Amlish, Hinglish: The Chutneyfication of English" and "Shehar aur
Sapna: The City as a Dream."
The 65-year-old author had been under attack by Islamic hardliners
for his controversial book "The Satanic Verses", published in
1988, for "allegedly blasphemy" against Prophet Mohammed. India
was among the first countries to ban the book.
Rushdie has been in India twice since the controversy. His first
visit in 2000 to the country of his birth 12 years after "Satanic
Verses" was banned created a flutter in the media. The writer was
escorted around with unprecedented security.
In 2007, Rushdie attended the festival at Jaipur. The visit came
despite protests by some Muslim groups.
Last year, speculative media reports that he had been invited to
attend a Kashmiri literary festival, Harud, had whipped up a
controversy in Jammu and Kashmir. The festival was eventually
The novel triggered controversy soon after it was published.
Muslims world over protested, some of which turned violent. It
also invited a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini, the late supreme
leader of Iran. Khomeini in February 1989 called for the death of
Rushdie and his publishers.
The fatwa was later revoked Sep 24, 1998.