Showing yet again that thuggery and intimidation work. “Salman Rushdie’s video conference at Jaipur Literature Festival cancelled,” from IBNLive, January 24 (thanks to Sanjay):
Jaipur: Celebrated author Salman Rushdie’s live video conference at Jaipur Literature Festival has been cancelled following protests by Jaipur-based Milli Council. Several activists of the Milli Council arrived at the venue of the Festival at Diggi Palace on Tuesday afternoon, demanding that the proposed video address by Rushdie be called off, claiming that it was an insult to the Muslims.
Despite Rajasthan government supporting the organisers of the festival, the link was called off amidst much drama at Diggi Palace in Jaipur.
The owner of the Diggy Palace Ram Pratap Singh said that he decided to not allow the video link fearing violence. Singh said that several people had entered the venue and threatened to take the law in their own hands if the video link was allowed.
“I have taken a decision on not to allow the video conference to go ahead on the advise of Rajasthan police. There are a large number people who are inside the property and a large number who are marching towards the property. This is necessary to avoid violence and harm to the property and my family,” he said.
Jaipur Literature Festival organiser Sanjoy Roy said he felt disgraced because bering artists they were not allowed to carry put what they had planned to do.
“We are having to step down from the freedom of expression, write and tell stories. It’s not a decision to support. We have been pushed to the wall. We have been informed by the police that there are large crowds gathering in various parts of the city marching towards Diggy Palace. It’s unfortunate to step down. But Rajasthan Police supported us. The Police Commissioner assured us that they will give us protection if we wanted to go ahead,” said Roy.
Claiming that the Festival was one of the best across the world, Roy said the issue was not about him (Rushdie) in person as even seeing his face would have been a problem.
“Ram Pratap and Naina were adamant that they wanted to protect people who were here and would not allowed it to go ahead,” he said.
Roy called the entire controversy “idiotic” to loud cheers from crowd and then broke down on stage. He walked off wiping his tears amidst thunderous applause from the crowd.
The Booker-winning author was scheduled to do a video conference at 3:45 pm on Tuesday. But Milli Council, one of the organisations which had filed a complaint against four authors for reading out passages from ‘The Satanic Verses’ on Friday, had been protesting against the move since Tuesday afternoon.
The organisers had earlier assured that Rushdie would not break any law with his video address at the Festival. Jaipur Literature Festival organiser Sanjoy Roy had said that they would go ahead with the video link with Rushdie at 3:45 pm on Tuesday….