New Delhi, January 31: The Centre on Tuesday said “nobody” in the government prevented controversial author Salman Rushdie from attending the Jaipur Literature Festival and it was the organisers who cancelled his programme.
“No one prevented Rushdie from coming to India. He is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO). He does not require a visa,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told a press conference.
He said a lot of things were attributed to the government without noting the facts. The only thing the government of India did and did rightly was on January 17, it had issued an advisory to Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur that protests were likely when Rushdie visits their city and they were obliged to provide security and take adequate measures, he said.
“That is a routine advisory that we would have sent whether it is Rushdie or anyone else visiting India. If there is a protest likely, we will send the advisory. Nobody prevented him coming to India. Any decision taken by the organiser of the Literature Festival, was a decision taken by them and he said so on television,” the home minister said.
Rushdie was supposed to participate in the five-day literature festival held in Jaipur between January 20-24.
The 64-year-old author had earned the wrath of Muslims worldwide due to the alleged blasphemous content in his novel The Satanic Verses which was published in 1988.
“The decision to cancel the video conferencing was the decision of the organiser, not by the Rajasthan Police. In fact, the Rajasthan Police had said go ahead and have a video link,” Chidambaram said when asked as to why the proposed video conferencing of the author was cancelled.
“The advisory was based on inputs received by the Intelligence agencies. We are obliged to share with the state governments. That was the only thing the government of India did,” Chidambaram said.