No Rushdie video conference without prior permission: Raj govt

Salman Rushdie
Jaipur, Jan 23: In a new twist to the Salman Rushdie controversy, Rajasthan government today said it would not allow the controversial author's proposed video link address to the Jaipur Literature Festival without prior permission.

The development came a day after the India-born author accused the Rajasthan police of lying about a plot to eliminate him to keep him away from the Festival, a charge dismissed by the state government which said Intelligence Bureau had given the inputs and it was not concocted.

A senior Rajasthan government official told PTI that they were examining the matter and no permission has been sought by the organisers to arrange any video conferencing of Rushdie so far. The official said that the government "would not allow this without a prior permission".

Rushdie, who had called off his visit to the festival last week citing threat to his life, was supposed to address via video link on the last day of the festival tomorrow but after a series of controversial developments, even that prospect appears to be hanging in balance. Asked if the video-link address was still on, festival producer Sanjoy K Roy appeared ambivalent.

"As of now, according to what I know, it is. No official has spoken to us so far raising objection," he said. The festival has been clouded by controversy ever since Rushdie's visit was announced sparking protests. After the visit was cancelled, four writers staged a protest reading from his banned book The Satanic Verses. 


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