Writers flay Rushdie fiasco

January 24th, 2012 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chetan Bhagat New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Expressing unhappiness over Salman Rushdie’s thwarted address via video link at the Jaipur Literature Festival, several writers Tuesday said it was a “sad day for India” and blamed the central and Rajasthan governments for not coming clean on the issue.

The video address by Rushdie at the Jaipur Literary Festival was called off Tuesday as some of the dozens of Muslims gathered outside the venue threatened trouble and even bloodshed if the address went ahead.

Reacting to the incident, writer Mark Tully said if people think Rushdie has offended any religion, they can take legal recourse.

“If someone has offended religion sentiment then there is law to deal with it. This is very sad indeed, Jaipur festival is very famous throughout world. India looks very shabby as a result of what has happened… it’s a sad day for India,” Tully told news channel CNN-IBN.

He said the government had not come clean on the issue from the very start.

Writer Chetan Bhagat said the Jaipur festival suffered in the fight between fundamentalists and liberals and the gainer was an appeasing government.

“Nobody wants to talk balance, middle ground, consensus, reconciliation, humility even as they all want to ride on a lovely fest for people,” he wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

Film director Shekhar Kapur said the government has banned Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” and not him.

“If there is so much threat to law and order situation in India from him, then the government should ban him, saying this man has been banned in India.

“If his addressing the festival through video conferencing is a threat then they (government) are cowards and it is not good,” he said.

“It’s official, we have buckled! No Salman Rushdie videolink at JLF. India officially proves to the world that it lacks freedom of speech,” tweeted writer Shobhaa De.

Actor Aman Verma posted: “Letting Salman Rushdie to come to India was not possible, and now the video link of Salman is also not allowed. Why is the government so spooked?”

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