Rushdie in doubt for India festival after threats


British author Salman Rushdie’s planned appearance at a literary festival in India was thrown into doubt on Tuesday due to security concerns caused by protests from influential Muslim clerics.
Rushdie was due to speak at the five-day event that starts on Friday in the city of Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, but his name has been dropped from the programme of events.
Festival organisers, who declined to be named, said that Rushide’s advertised appearances had been removed from the programme for security reasons, but that he was still expected to attend.
“He will not be in India on (Friday) January 20 due to a change of schedule. The festival stands by its invitation,” festival producer Sanjoy Roy told AFP, without giving further details.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot told the NDTV news channel on Tuesday that “Salman Rushdie’s presence does have security implications and we are keeping a close watch and have been in touch with the organisers.
“At the same time we can’t prevent him from coming since he is a PIO (Person of Indian Origin),” Gehlot added, referring to Mumbai-born Rushdie’s status as a permanent visa holder.
Last week, the Darululoom Deoband seminary in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh demanded the government stop Rushdie from entering the country because of his allegedly blasphemous writing about Islam.