Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rushdie's video address cancelled

The much-anticipated video address by controversial writer Salman Rushdie was cancelled at the last moment on Tuesday because of fears of violence as Muslim organisations staged protests.

The decision to call off the video address by the Satanic Verses writer came after a meeting festival organisers had with leaders of Muslim organisations during which the protesters told them "even seeing his face is intolerable".

Announcing the cancellation of Rushdie's address, one of the organisers Sanjay Roy said police had told them that people had got inside the venue to disrupt proceedings and cause violence.

"Some organisations have threatened violence. This is unfortunate, but necessary to avoid violence. It is a fairly iditoic situation. We are once again stepping down from the fight for freedom of expression. We have been pushed to the wall again," Roy said.

"It is unfortunate that we are being bullied again and we had to step down...We had no other way but to listen to save the people here, our children and everyone here," he added.

Earlier, Assistant Commissioner of Police Virendra Jhala said the owners of the venue had conveyed to them they will not allow the video address fearing repercussions.

After their meeting with organisers, the protesters also offered namaz at the venue.

The Rushdie session -Midnights Child - was planned for 3.45 pm where the 65-year-old India-born author was to discuss his childhood, his work, problems faced in the past years and the adaptation of his novel Midnights Children into a film.

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