Salman Rushdie not attending Kashmir Literary Fest: Organisers

Salman Rushdie not attending Kashmir Literary Fest: Organisers

"False and provocative rumours of Salman Rushdie attending the festival have been circulated via a dedicated Facebook page without seeking any clarification about the authenticity of this statement. We wish to reiterate that Salman Rushdie was never invited to attend the festival," organisers of the "Harud: the Autumn Literature Festival," said in an official statement.

Event advisor and noted writer Namita Gokhle said she is saddened by the controversy surrounding the event.

"I am truly saddened that a sincere platform for literary dialogue should be misinterpreted and become the subject of confrontation and controversy," Gokhale told PTI from Edinburg where she is attending a literary event.

The controversy arose after a Facebook page began running a crusade campaign to convince its members of Rushdie's invitation to the three day literary extravaganza to be held in late September in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Holding this farcical festival in Kashmir serves no purpose other than showing the world that all is OK in Kashmir. Salman Rushdie had been invited, we have newspaper (online and offline) clippings to prove it. Now they are lying that he was not invited. NO to "Harud" in Kashmir. Let us gain some momentum then we will get this campaign going in the streets of Kashmir," reads a post on the social networking page.

Organisers are miffed by the fact that their "sincere" attempts have been questioned by "some people," who according to them are trying to drag the event to a "point of confrontation".

"Contrary to such reports in the press I am not participating in the festival. Could you please make a note of that," Wahid Mirza, author-journalist from Kashmir told PTI over email from London.

Basharat Peer, another noted author from Kashmir, who now lives in New York has also confirmed that he would not attend the festival.

"We are surprised that some people who profess to stand for free speech have hijacked this sincere effort to create a transparent and inclusive platform for the arts and saddened that a literary initiative should become a point for confrontation," said the statement by the organisers.

Festival organisers are seeking public support in Kashmir for the "spirit" of the festival, mired in controversies from the outset, which according to them is "plural, inclusive and aims to be a platform for free speech and expression."

"We wish to categorically state that the Harud literature festival is not government sponsored. It has been conceived with the intent of creating a platform for free and open, debate, discussion and dialogue through contemporary narratives, literary fiction, poetry and theatre," said organisers.

Organisers of the Kashmir literature festival are miffed that their "sincere" attempts have been questioned by "some people," who according to them are trying to drag the event to a "point of confrontation".

"Contrary to such reports in the press I am not participating in the festival. Could you please make a note of that," Wahid Mirza, author-journalist from Kashmir told PTI over email from London.

Basharat Peer, another noted author from Kashmir, who now lives in New York has also confirmed that he would not attend the festival.

"We are surprised that some people who profess to stand for free speech have hijacked this sincere effort to create a transparent and inclusive platform for the arts and saddened that a literary initiative should become a point for confrontation," said the statement by the organisers.

Festival organisers are seeking public support in Kashmir for the "spirit" of the festival, mired in controversies from the outset, which according to them is "plural, inclusive and aims to be a platform for free speech and expression."

"We wish to categorically state that the Harud literature festival is not government sponsored. It has been conceived with the intent of creating a platform for free and open, debate, discussion and dialogue through contemporary narratives, literary fiction, poetry and theatre," said organisers.

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