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Salman Rushdie attack: Shashi Tharoor says, ‘Worse if creative expression can no longer be free and open’

"Utterly horrified," Tharoor added, as contemporaries express their shock over the unfortunate incident

Salman Rushdie, Salman Rushdie attack, Salman Rushdie New York attack, Salman Rushdie stabbed, Salman Rushdie death threat, author Salman Rushdie, novelist Salman Rushdie, Salman Rushdie news, Salman Rushdie attack reaction, books, controversial books, indian express newsDetails are still sketchy about his condition and the man who attacked him, but according to reports, Rushdie was on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, when the attack took place. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Salman Rushdie was purportedly attacked and stabbed in the neck earlier today when the acclaimed author was about to give a lecture in New York.

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Details are still sketchy about his condition and the man who attacked him, but according to reports, Rushdie was on stage at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, when the attack took place.

An Associated Press reporter, who was at the event, claimed that a man confronted Rushdie on stage and then began punching and stabbing him “10 to 15 times” while he was being introduced. Following this, the 75-year-old novelist either fell to the floor or was pushed.

The septuagenarian, who is the the author of books like ‘Quichotte’, ‘Midnight’s Children’, ‘Shame’, ‘The Satanic Verses’, and more, has — in the past — received death threats, owing to his stance on “free expression and liberal causes”.

He was taken to a hospital by a helicopter and his condition was not immediately known. The man who attacked him was arrested.

One Rabbi Charles Savenor, who was in the audience, was quoted as telling AP, “This guy ran onto the platform and started pounding on Mr Rushdie. At first you’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten.”

News of this horrific attack led to Rushdie’s contemporaries reacting on social media.


Expressing his shock over the incident, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted: “Utterly horrified and shocked by the stabbing of @SalmanRushdie. Wish him a speedy and complete recovery from his wounds, even though, with a sinking heart, I recognize that life for him can never be the same again. A sad day, worse if creative expression can no longer be free and open.”

“I hope Salman Rushdie is okay,” tweeted Stephen King, 74, who has written novels like ‘It‘ and ‘The Shining‘.

William Dalrymple wrote on Twitter, “A terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and for authors everywhere. Poor poor Salman: I pray he’s not hurt and recovers quickly.”

Rushdie has been a former president of PEN America —  a non-profit organisation that works to defend free expression in the US and around the world through the advancement of literature and human rights — which tweeted, “…Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

In a separate tweet, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel wrote that Rushdie had emailed “to help with placements for Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge from the grave perils they face” hours before the attack. “Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered.”

“I just learned that Salman Rushdie was attacked in New York. I am really shocked. I never thought it would happen. He has been living in the West, and he has been protected since 1989. If he is attacked, anyone who is critical of Islam can be attacked. I am worried,” wrote author Taslima Nasreen, who is known for writing on female oppression and criticism of religion.

Indian writer Amitav Ghosh wrote that he is “horrified to learn that Salman Rushdie has been attacked at a speaking event in upstate New York”. “Wish him a speedy recovery,” his tweet read.

Wajahat Ali, who is the author of ‘Go Back to Where You Came From‘, tweeted, “I was there two weeks ago giving a talk. It’s a lovely place with a fantastic, curious and welcoming community. This is shocking. I hope Salman Rushdie isn’t injured and can recover and heal quickly. How disgusting.”

Neil Gaiman also shared his thoughts, writing: “I’m shocked and distressed to see my friend Salman Rushdie has been attacked before a talk. He’s a good man and a brilliant one and I hope he’s okay.”

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First published on: 12-08-2022 at 11:27:27 pm
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