Even as uncertainty looms over Salman Rushdie’s appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival,the India-born author himself is not giving any hints about his plans to visit India and has maintained a stoic silence on Twitter where he has been a regular commentator.
‘The Satanic Verses’ author has logged on to the microblogging site Twitter regularly and commented on various issues,occasionally tweeting several times a day.
However,there has been no activity on his Twitter account since the beginning of the week.
Efforts to contact him through Twitter and his agencies have met with no result.
On January 10,Rushdie had tweeted “As a rule,I don’t answer press inquiries here. Journalists should please use usual channels: RandomHouse,WylieAgency,Jaipur festival.”
Repeated emails and phone messages to the agencies mentioned by Rushdie,seeking his comments on the controversy and whether he would attend the Jaipur festival,have gone unanswered.
The author is facing severe opposition for his visit to India due to his controversial 1988 book ‘The Satanic Verses’,which had earned the wrath of Muslims worldwide due to its alleged blasphemous content.
The novel was banned by India,and Rushdie even faced a fatwa against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,the Supreme Leader of Iran.
After India’s top Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband said the government should decline a visa to the author,Rushdie used Twitter to convey his position saying he did not require a visa to visit India.
The author holds a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card and is free to enter the country as he pleases.
The chief minister Rajasthan,the state where the festival is taking place,Ashok Gehlot has said his trip might lead to security problems.
He has conveyed to India’s Home Minister P Chidambaram the objection some Muslim organisations have over Rushdie visiting India.
The festival’s organisers too have been ambiguous about whether Rushdie would attend the five-day literary event.
“Salman Rushdie will not be in India on 20th January due to a change in his schedule. The festival stands by its invitation to Mr Rushdie,” festival producer Sanjoy K Roy had said.
Rushdie was earlier scheduled to speak on January 20,21,and 22 in different sessions.