“Author Salman Rushdie has accused authorities in the Indian state of Rajasthan of giving ‘false intelligence information’ of a threat to his life. Mr Rushdie withdrew from the Jaipur literature festival on Friday, saying that he been told by sources that paid assassins were planning to kill him. But he later said he believed he had been lied to about the threat.
The Rajasthan government has denied the charge, saying it was ‘baseless.’
Salman Rushdie sparked anger in the Muslim world with his book The Satanic Verses, which many see as blasphemous. He lived in hiding for many years after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his execution.
The author had been scheduled to speak in Jaipur on Friday, on the opening day of the five-day event. But Rushdie pulled out of the festival, saying that he had been informed ‘by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to ‘eliminate me.’
Influential Muslim clerics had protested against his participation in the run-up to the festival. On Sunday, Rushdie tweeted that he had investigated the information and believed ‘that I was indeed lied to.’
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told a newspaper that Rushdie’s allegation was ‘baseless.'”
First published in 1988, Rushdie’s The Satanic Verse was inspired, in part, by the life of Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters. Banned in India before publication, the novel concerns “two actors from India, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, who are flying across the English Channel when the first of many implausible events occurs: the jet explodes. As the two men plummet to the earth, they argue, sing and are transformed. When they are found on an English beach, the only survivors of the blast, Gibreel has sprouted a halo while Saladin has developed hooves, hairy legs and the beginnings of what seem like horns. What follows is a series of allegorical tales that challenges assumptions about both human and divine nature.”
Citing “blasphemy against Islam,” it has been banned in several countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand.
Read the entire piece here on the BBC.