No entry for Rushdie
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Kolkata 'Disinvited' by state govt, Booker Prize winner cancels trip.
With author Salman Rushdie getting "disinvited" by West Bengal government, and film director Deepa Mehta failing to make it, the proposed discussion among the main cast and crew of Midnight's Children, a film based on his award-winning novel of the same name, at the Kolkata International Book Fair on Wednesday evening became a one-on-one with actor Rahul Bose.
Asked about their absence, Bose said, "It's only about 1 per cent of the population who did it for their vested interest. It will not stop me in my fight against cultural intolerance."
Earlier it was planned that Rushdie, Mehta and Bose were to attend two events ó a press meet at a city hotel and an interaction titled, Midnight Magic, at the literary meet. At the book fair, author Amitav Ghosh said, "It is unfortunate that he cannot move freely according to his will."
Sources in the book fair said the government did not want Rushdie to attend the literary meet fearing backlash from sections of Muslim community.
Mohd Nurur Rahman Barkati, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid, said: "I had called up Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to tell her that Rushdie should not be allowed to come to Bengal. It would give rise to a law and order situation. She assured me that it would be taken care of," he said.
But Farooq Ahmed, editor of an Urdu magazine, termed it as "a meek submission before fundamental forces and deep scar on Kolkata's secular credentials."
State Home Secretary Basudev Banerjee said the government came to know of Rushdie's visit on Tuesday evening. "It was not pre-scheduled. We got in touch with Mumbai Police who later told us that he was not coming," he said.
Debashish Darker, distributor of the film, confirmed that the film will be released in the state on February 1. Rushdie's 1988 novel The Satanic Verses had led to a fatwa being issued on his life.