Ban Salman Rushdie at Jaipur Literature Festival, say Muslim groups, but Sanjay Roy says no 'hijacking' event

Ahead of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Muslim groups today warned organisers against inviting authors who hurt religious sentiments of the community, including the four who had read out passages from Salman Rushdie's banned Satanic Verses at the event last year.

"If any author, who has courted controversy by hurting the sentiments of the community, comes here to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival, we will oppose and they will have to face strong action," Mujahid Naqvi, a Muslim scholar, said today.

"One of the four authors, Jeet Thayil, who read a passage from `Satanic Verses' last year, is also scheduled to participate this year also and we oppose this. Other authors - Ruchir, Hari Kunzuru and Amitava Kumar - read from the banned book which tantamount to legal action," he said.

This was decided at the 'Azeemusshan Azmat-E-Namoos-E-Rasool' conference held here yesterday by Muslim groups of the state, and this is the feeling of the community, he said.

Another scholar, Sajid Sehrai, who organised the conference, said the organisers of the literature festival should ensure that no author or speaker, who has hurt sentiments of the community, attends the event.

The five-day literature festival will kick off from January 24.

Last year, the event had courted controversy over the scheduled visit of Rushdie, who had to cancel his visit following strong opposition from Muslim groups.

However, four authors read out passages from the banned book in their sessions following which complaints against them were filed in separate courts by Muslim activists and they had to leave the city to avoid any legal action during the event.

When contacted, Sanjay Roy, Producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, "Everyone has right to express his feeling but we (the event) are not going to be hijacked."

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