Jaipur: An angry Salman Rushdie Sunday accused the Rajasthan Police of concocting a supposed death threat to keep him away from the Jaipur Literature Festival. However, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot denied the charges.
“I’ve investigated, and believe I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry,” Rushdie posted on micro-blogging site Twitter. He added that he did not know who gave the orders to police to come up with the lie.
“Don’t know… Yes, I guess the same police who want to arrest Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting,” wrote the controversial writer. Authors Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi read passages from Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” on the first day of the festival, after Rushdie pulled out of the event citing threats to him.
Rajasthan Police, refusing to comment on the issue, have sought a copy of the video from the organisers of the reading session, a source said. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Rushdie’s charges were false.
“It is not true. The government had made all arrangements for his security because it was our duty. If we get an advisory from the centre (central government) about a threat to the life of a certain person then we have to make the arrangements for his security,” Gehlot told reporters here.
Gehlot said Rushdie was a Person of Indian Origin and does not require a visa to come to India. “But if there is some threat to his life due to anger among a group of people and if feel that could affect law and order, then we have to see as it is a popular festival,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muslim groups have threatened to move the court against the four writers for reading out excerpts from “The Satanic Verses”, which is banned in India.
Rajasthan Police have stepped up security at the Diggi Palace, the venue of the five-day literature festival that began Friday.