Rushdie’s video link to Indian festival scrapped

Rushdie’s video link to Indian festival scrapped

JAIPUR, India - Agence France-Presse
Salman Rushdie was expected to address at the Indian festival through video.

A planned video address by British author Salman Rushdie to an Indian literary festival was scrapped yesterday because of security fears, organizers said.

Muslim groups in the city of Jaipur had called for police to ban the video link over the protracted row about alleged blasphemy in Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.”

Sanjoy Roy, the producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said police had warned that Muslim activists in the crowd were planning to disrupt the event as thousands of festival visitors gathered to listen to Rushdie.

Rushdie last week withdrew from making a personal appearance at the festival after Indian intelligence officials warned him that assassins from Mumbai were travelling to Jaipur, though he later said he believed the plot was a fake.

“We have been informed by police that even as I speak there are large crowds that have gathered in parks, that are marching toward the Diggi Palace (the venue),” said Roy. “We are being bullied into having to step down.”

Ram Pratap Singh, the owner of venue, told the crowd that he had taken the decision “on advice of the Rajasthan (state) police who are monitoring the situation, who say there is a large number of people... threatening violence.”