Friday, February 01, 2013

Salman Rushdie abandons visit to Indian city amid protests

Salman Rushdie has called off his trip to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata to promote the film based on his best selling novel, "Midnight's Children", following protests by Muslim groups.

Rushdie abandons visit to Indian city amid protests
Salman Rushdie promoting 'Midnight's Children' in New Delhi last week  Photo: EPA
Several hundred Muslim demonstrators shouting anti-Rushdie slogans congregated at the airport in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on Wednesday ahead of the controversial British author's planned arrival, triggering security fears and forcing him to summarily terminate his visit.
Rushdie, whose novel "The Satanic Verses" is considered blasphemous by some Muslims and over which the Iranian clergy placed a bounty on his head in 1989, also stayed away from India's biggest literature festival in Jaipur last year following threats to his life.
"We will not allow him here. He is hated by all Muslims in the world. I thank the state government for listening to us (and canceling his visit)" Idris Ali, chief of the fringe All India Minority Forum said from outside the city airport.
The decision to call off the trip was Rushdie's "personal call", Arun Nair, of PVR Cinema Group that is promoting and distributing "Midnight's Children" said.


Mark Hubbard said...

What a pity those seeking to shut up the individual voice in India, don't read Rushdie's elegant speech on free speech given at India Today Conclave 2012. Regarding the state of India today, because even Imran Khan refused to attend Rushdie's 2012 event, it would seem pretty dire.

Quoting a small portion of the speech:

This word, freedom. It's a beautiful sounding word, isn't it? Who would be against freedom? It's a word everyone would automatically be "for", one would think. A free society is one in which a thousand flowers bloom, in which a thousand and one voices speak. And what a simple and grand idea that seems. It's like that copper goddess standing in the harbour, enlightening the world.

But in our time, many essential freedoms are in danger of defeat and not only in totalitarian or authoritarian states. Here in India also, a combination of religious fanaticism, political opportunism and, I have to say, public apathy is damaging that freedom upon which all other freedoms depend: the freedom of expression.

Rahul said...

I am so much looking forward to this movie. Hope it is as good as the review. Though too early to say this and that even without watching it, In my view this might be an Oscar winning movie :)