Muslim groups threaten protest if Rushdie turns up at lit fest

Salman Rushdie
Jaipur, Jan 19: While mystery still surrounds the visit of Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literature Festival, Muslims groups said they would protest if the controversial author makes it to the event as the organisers had turned down their demand of withdrawing his invite. Several Muslim groups held a meeting with the organisers of the festival on Thursday and demanded cancellation of Rushdie's invite, that was rejected.

"Muslim members will assemble at Jama Masjid in Johri Bazaar on Friday and after prayers and dharna we will pass a resolution demanding cancellation of his visit. "The response of the state government and the organisers was poor and they did nothing to ban Rushdie's proposed visit," said Kari Moinuddin, Co-ordinator of Rajasthan Muslim Forum.

Meanwhile, the organisers said that they have not resent the invitation but they stand by their invite to Rushdie. "We had discussions with Muslim groups with regard to Rushdie's visit and apprised them about our stand. We have to ensure first that we stand for freedom of expression and the festival has always stood for issues of minority and any other community," Sanjay Roy, the festival producer, said at the inaugural press conference.

Roy added that Rushdie was not coming to the festival tomorrow but whether he would attend it after the first couple of days was unconfirmed as of now. Meanwhile, police said elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of a possible protest by Muslim groups. "Additional police personnel will be deployed at sensitive places to keep strict vigil and to prevent any untoward incident during the festival," a senior police officer said.


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