Passages from Rushdie's Satanic Verses read at Lit Fest

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Salman Rushdie
Jaipur, Jan 21:  Two prominent authors read out portions from Salman Rushdie's banned "Satanic Verses" at the Jaipur Literature Festival as a mark of protest after the India-born author had to pull out of the event over security concerns.

As the literary community expressed outrage over Rushdie not being able to make the trip, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar used their session at the festival to read from "Satanic Verses"

The controversial book was banned in the country shortly after it was published in 1988, for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

The two authors referred to the book during their own readings and discussions and actually went on to read out portions from the book. In fact just before his reading, Kunzru tweeted: "About to defy bigots and shoe throwers, reading @SalmanRushdie Satanic Verses on stage with @amitavakumar at #jaipur #jlf (sic)."

They also read out Rushdie’s tweet to the audience in which he had thanked the two for reading from his work to a loud applause.

The organizers later asked Kumar not to go ahead with his reading. Kumar initially agreed to the suggestion but later continued reading from Rushdie’s work. Soon afterwards, authors Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi said they too would read from the Satanic Verses.

A perturbed Rushdie later tweeted: "@amitavakumar says organizers asked him not to continue reading from Satanic Verses." Willie, Sanjoy: why did this happen?". He was referring to William Dalrymple and Sanjoy K Roy, the festival organizers. Rushdie again tweeted: "Joshi too said they would be reading from the Satanic Verses."

PTI

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