Author Salman Rushdie, who was attacked in New York on Friday, is currently on a ventilator with damaged liver and may lose an eye, said officials. The Mumbai-based controversial author was stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man who apparently sympathised with Shia extremism and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The accused, a 24-year-old New Jersey resident who was identified as Hadi Matar has since been charged with attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree.
Here are 10 key points to note about the attack on Rushdie:
- A profusely bleeding Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania and underwent surgery for several hours.
- "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged," the 75-year-old writer's agent, Andrew Wylie told The New York Times.
- Rushdie, who won the Booker Prize for his novel "Midnight's Children", is still unable to speak, he said.
- Police are working with the FBI and local authorities to determine the motive. A preliminary review of Matar’s social media accounts by law enforcement showed him to be sympathetic to Shia extremism and the causes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a law enforcement person with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.
- The officials say investigators found photos on Matar's phone of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Iraq's pro-Iranian militia movement, were killed by US forces in a drone strike in Baghdad in 2020.
- Authorities believe the suspect was alone but are investigating "to make sure that was the case," Staniszewski said, adding that authorities will determine "appropriate charges" as the investigation continues.
- Rushdie's fourth book The Satanic Verses in 1988 forced him into hiding for nine years.
- The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused Rushdie of blasphemy over the book and in 1989 issued a fatwa against him, calling for his death. Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.
- Rushdie was stabbed as he was on the stage at the Chautauqua Institution, a not-for-profit community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state.
- US National Security Advisor Jake Sulliving denounced the “appalling” attack and said members of the Biden-Harris administration were praying for his speedy recovery. A leading literary organisation expressed “shock and horror” at the “brutal, premeditated” attack on Rushdie.
(with PTI inputs)