The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

January 24, 2012

Four authors who read Satanic Verses shunted from Jaipur Literary Festival, 'courageous' writers flee venue to avoid arrest

The four participants at the Jaipur Literary Festival who read excerpts from Salman Rushdie's banned Satanic Verse were kicked out of the festival and asked to leave the venue.

Outraged over the sudden act of reading the book during the festival, the authors--Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar and two other little-known writers Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi, the organisers asked the four persons to leave the place. They fled Jaipur soon after.

The humiliating exit came as the act to read excerpts was considered provocation. Interestingly, the Centre hadn't stopped Rushdie from visiting the country. No group in India, either Muslim or other party, had issued any threat to him.

Rushdie claimed that he faced threat. However, Rajasthan police categorically denied that they had any such input. But after Rushdie didn't arrive, self-styled flag bearers of free speech tried to read passages of Rushdie's book, prompting organisers to stop them.

The act invited criticism from different quarters. Muslim groups didn't seem happy over the authors getting kicked out of the country, and demanded action against them for breaking the law and reading the banned book to provoke others. 

Shuted out from Jaipur literary festival the 'courageous authors Amitava Kumar Hari Kunzru Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi fearing arrest hurriedly fled Jaipur and escaped, an act in sharp contrast from their 'bold' stand for freedom of speech and censorship.

After they left Jaipur, complaints were made to police against them for provocation. A section of media felt it as disgraceful that Rushdie didn't arrive her but the fact remains that it was what Taslima Nareen put, 'his cowardice'. 

TIH Bureau 

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