Rusdie and Jaipur Li Fest

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Mumbai cops contest Rushdie threat claim

    Persuasion hint in Jaipur

    Jan. 21: Not paid assassins but a reluctance to take chances with law and order, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls, scuttled Salman Rushdie’s visit, accounts by police, politicians and sources at the Jaipur Literature Festival suggested today.
    The conclusion also echoes Rushdie’s own scepticism of what was referred to as intelligence inputs.

    A day after Rushdie emailed that he had been “informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to ‘eliminate’ me”, Maharashtra police denied the claim.

    “When we had no information that gangsters or paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld had planned to eliminate Salman Rushdie, how could we have shared it with anybody?” state director-general of police K. Subramaniyam, said.

    He said he did not know whether the Rajasthan police had any such intelligence and had shared it with the India-born British author. Senior Rajasthan police officers claimed they did not know anything about the matter.

    Rushdie himself had expressed scepticism about the intelligence claims in his email yesterday: “While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience, and to my fellow writers.”

    However, a top source at the Jaipur Literary Festival organising committee told The Telegraph that it had been decided after a January 16 meeting that Rushdie would be “persuaded” not to come. At the meeting were Rajasthan chief secretary Salauddin Ahmed, top state police officers, and festival organising committee members, the source said.

    A Maharashtra Congress MP said the Rajasthan government had taken the decision to keep Rushdie out in the backdrop of last September’s communal riots in Bharatpur district. “Chief minister Ashok Gehlot was summoned to Delhi by a Union minister and asked to find a solution,” the MP said.

    “The Rajasthan government came up with the idea of getting the festival organisers to persuade Rushdie not to attend and make it seem like the author’s own decision.”

    The festival organising committee source claimed that after the January 16 meeting, Rushdie was advised to cancel his India trip.
    “Initially, we did not agree to ask him to cancel the visit altogether. It was decided he should not attend the high-profile inaugural ceremony on Friday,” the source said.

    “But later, it was felt after speaking to Rushdie and the authorities that it was best if he did not come.... We did not want a law-and-order situation.”

    Rushdie has visited India five times since publishing The Satanic Verses in 1988, and attended the Jaipur event’s inaugural session in 2007. He has also been to Mumbai.

    “But he has never been an underworld target. They are not bothered about him,” a Mumbai police officer said.

    Police sources claimed that immediately after the Maharashtra police chief’s denial of Rushdie’s claim, the state home minister’s office issued instructions that officials should not comment on the Rushdie affair.

    In Jaipur, the additional director-general (intelligence), Rajasthan, said he could not say anything on the affair “as I do not have the file”. The state anti-terrorist squad chief too denied any knowledge, saying he was on holiday. His deputy said the intelligence department was best equipped to answer such questions.

    Gehlot said the state had merely conveyed the Centre’s threat inputs relating to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India to the festival organisers but was fully prepared to provide security to Rushdie.

    FIR threat

    The Ajmer-based Muslim Ekta Manch has decided to file an FIR in a lower court against authors Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar for reading out copied passages from The Satanic Verses at a festival session yesterday before the organisers stopped them. They will be accused of hurting the community’s sentiments, and trying to disrupt peace and communal harmony in the state.

    At the festival, many authors and editors supported Rushdie, Kumar and Kunzru.

    A lawyer, Ajay Kumar Jain, however, said: “Reading out excerpts from a banned book out of a piece of paper too is punishable under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code and can bring a jail term of up to three years.”

    Among the authors at the festival, Chetan Bhagat struck a dissenting note: “Let’s not make heroes out of people who have been banned. They have been banned for hurting people. They shouldn’t be banned but they are not heroes.”

    The Telegraph - Archives
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Rushdie's video address cancelled

    Jaipur, Jan 24 (PTI): The much-anticipated video address by controversial writer Salman Rushdie was cancelled at the last moment on Tuesday because of fears of violence as Muslim organisations staged protests.

    The decision to call off the video address by the Satanic Verses writer came after a meeting festival organisers had with leaders of Muslim organisations during which the protesters told them “even seeing his face is intolerable”.

    Announcing the cancellation of Rushdie's address, one of the organisers Sanjay Roy said police had told them that people had got inside the venue to “disrupt proceedings” and cause violence.

    ”Some organisations have threatened violence. This is unfortunate, but necessary to avoid violence. It is a fairly idiotic situation. We are once again stepping down from the fight for freedom of expression. We have been pushed to the wall again,” Roy said.

    ”It is unfortunate that we are being bullied again and we had to step down...We had no other way but to listen to save the people here, our children and everyone here,” he added. Earlier, Assistant Commissioner of Police Virendra Jhala said the owners of the venue had conveyed to them they would not allow the video address fearing repercussions. After their meeting with organisers, the protesters also offered namaz at the venue.

    The Rushdie session -—Midnight’s Child —- was planned for 3.45 pm where the 65-year-old India-born author was to discuss his childhood, his work, problems faced in the past years and the adaptation of his novel Midnight’s Children into a film.

    The Telegraph - Archives
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What we can’t deal with

    Jaipur, Jan. 24: The Jaipur Literature Festival cancelled a video-link speech by Salman Rushdie minutes before it was scheduled to begin today, citing death threats and fears of violence.

    But the fallacy of such censorship in the information age was evident soon as Rushdie appeared on television and said he would come to India “as many times as I choose to… so deal with it”.

    “In a true democracy, all get to speak, not just the ones making threats,” Rushdie had tweeted after the cancellation, which he described as “awful” and stifled free speech. Rushdie termed the entire episode a “black farce”.

    The question whether the author should participate dogged the festival even before it began, as its organisers tried to juggle religious sensitivities and freedom of speech.

    “The police commissioner told us there would be violence at the venue and a riot outside where thousands were gathering if we continued,” festival director and author William Dalrymple said. “We have all received death threats, which are still continuing to arrive.”
    Ram Pratap Singh, the owner of the hotel at which the festival was held, told the crowd that had assembled to hear the author: ‘‘I have decided not to allow this video link to go ahead on the advice of Rajasthan police. There are a large number of people averse to this video link inside this property. They have threatened violence. This is necessary to avoid harm to all of you.”

    Rushdie, whose 1988 novel The Satanic Verses is banned in India, last week cancelled plans to travel to Jaipur after reported assassination threats against him.

    Tonight, Rushdie was unsparing in his criticism of politicians during an interview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, who was scheduled to moderate the aborted video conversation.

    Rushdie said he felt “a lot of personal disappointment. But my overwhelming feeling is a disappointment on behalf of India… in which religious extremists can prevent free expression of ideas at a literary festival, in which the politicians are too, let’s say, in bed with those groups to wish to oppose them for narrow electoral reasons….”

    Rushdie added: “It seems as if across the world of the arts there is an assault on liberty by, sometimes Hindu extremists, sometimes Muslim extremists… it’s about time we understood that if this is allowed to go on, that India will cease to be a free country.”
    Political parties have been accused of failing to support Rushdie for fear of offending voters ahead of the Uttar Pradesh election next month.
    The event’s organisers announced the cancellation of the video-link appearance about five minutes before it was to begin at 3.45pm.
    “All of us feel hurt and disgraced. Artists have not been able to prevail,” said Sanjoy Roy, the festival’s producer, holding back tears. “We have been pushed to the wall,” he said to loud applause.

    After an announcement at midday that the address was on, leaders of local Muslim groups began to congregate at the main entrance to the festival. About 300-400 protesters were inside the venue and, police said, more were gathering elsewhere in the city.

    The organisers and the police twice tried to hold a dialogue with the group leaders but they were adamant.

    The Rajasthan government, blamed for the cancellation of Rushdie’s visit, distanced itself from the snapping of the video link.

    Home secretary G.S. Sandhu said: “We had given conditional clearance. We did not want that anything should be read out from the controversial book. The government had no role in the cancellation of the video link.”

    But the government will have a headache if Rushdie keeps his word. “I will come to India as many times as I choose to. Do what I will and I will not allow these religious gangsters and their cronies in the government to prevent me… so deal with it.”
    The Telegraph - Archives
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I have put this in Politics sub forum since I am not too sure all this is because of Culture or Religion.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The BJP jumps in!

    Another case of the Govt bungling a non issue!
     

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