Jaipur keeps door open for Rushdie

Jaipur keeps door open for Rushdie

Lit Fest: Organisers reject govt advice to keep author out

Jaipur keeps door open for Rushdie

The Jaipur literature festival, billed as Asia’s biggest literary event, has kept its invitation open to controversial author Salman Rushdie, ignoring some Muslim organisations’ demand to withdraw the invite and the Rajasthan government’s counsel to avoid controversy.

Though the organisers cancelled the hotel booking of Rushdie, festival producer Sanjoy Roy told mediapersons on Thursday that they tried to reason with the representatives of the Muslim organisations but failed.

One organiser said, “if we succumb to such demands then holding the event would be impossible. Today it is some Muslim organisations, tomorrow it may be somebody else. We stand for freedom of expression and it shall not be compromised.”   

According to sources, the Muslim organisations threatened to stage a protest if Salman Rushdie was allowed to attend. Roy said, “We still stand by our invitation to Rushdie,” but neither confirmed nor ruled out the author’s presence in the festival. The chances of the author attending seemed dim as the organisers indirectly hinted to the media to focus on the event rather than an individual.

“As many as 258 authors are participating and they are all great in their own right,” said Namita Gokhale.

The stand of the state government was also not encouraging as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot  repeatedly advised the organisers to avoid any confrontation.