New York, Jan 22: Two days after he scrapped his plans to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival citing threats to his life, an “angry” Salman Rushdie today charged that he was lied to by the Rajasthan police, who “invented” a plot to keep him away from the event.
The controversial author took to microblogging site Twitter to vent his anger and responded to reports in Indian media that said “Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie.”
Rushdie tweeted, “Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie' I've investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry.” Responding to a comment to his tweet, Rushdie said he does not know if the false intelligence information was given by Rajasthan police under instructions from someone.
“Don't know who gave orders. And yes I guess the same police who want to arrest (authors) Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting,” he said responding to a comment on whether it is the same police who now want to arrest writers for reading passages of his banned work ‘The Satanic Verses' at the festival.
Rushdie also posted a link to a news report that said local intelligence officials in Rajasthan had “invented” information about the assassination plot against him to keep him away from the literary event.
His accompanying tweet read, “Here's the story. Astonishing.”
The author had dropped plans to attend the literature festival saying he was informed by intelligence sources in Maharastra and Rajasthan that paid hitmen from the Mumbai underworld will “eliminate” him if he came to India.
Rushdie had expressed doubts about the “accuracy” of the intelligence but said in a statement that it would be “irresponsible” on his part to still attend the festival and put the lives of other authors and participants in danger.
In protest, authors Amitava Kumar, Hari Kunzru, Ruchir Joshi and Jeet Thayil had read passages of ‘The Satanic Verses', a controversial 1988 novel by Rushdie that is banned in India due to its alleged blasphemous content.
Police are now demanding to see tapes of the recordings of the authors reading from the banned book.