Rushdie Quits Festival Over Assassination Fears
Received intelligence about plot at Jaipur literary event
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2012 9:52 AM CST
In this file photo, Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie speaks during the in Rio de Janeiro.   (AP Photo/Renzo Gostoli, File)

(Newser) – Salman Rushdie has dropped out of India's top literary festival after hearing that assassins may have been planning to attend—and kill him. Powerful clerics had protested the author's attendance at the Jaipur festival, which opened today and was to feature Rushdie as a speaker. But "intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan" informed him "that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to 'eliminate' me," he said in a statement, according to the BBC.

"While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience and to my fellow writers," continued the statement read at the festival. Rushdie does plan to appear via video link, however. A top Islamic seminary in India last week asked the government to halt the author's planned visit, saying Rushdie "had annoyed the religious sentiments of Muslims in the past." The protests come as the state gears up for an election in which Muslims make up a significant voting bloc. (Oprah is scheduled to appear at the festival; click to read about the trouble she had in India yesterday.)

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
Jan 20, 2012 12:13 PM CST
We are all Rushdies, living in fear of the mindless irrational nature of unbridled isslamm.
Jan 20, 2012 11:32 AM CST
It seems almost hypocritical that they would be more worried about Rushdie, than Oprah. She is the antithesis of what they preach a woman should be.
Jan 20, 2012 11:30 AM CST
(Oprah is scheduled to appear at the festival....maybe the assassins are targeting the wrong person....