Rushdie videochat called off to ‘save our children, everyone’

Express news service : Jaipur, Wed Jan 25 2012, 00:45 hrs

Salman Rushdie’s video conference at Jaipur Literature Festival was
cancelled today due to “security concerns”. Organisers said they were
“pushed to the wall”.

The owner of Diggi Palace, the festival venue, said they had decided
not to allow the conference “on the advice of the police”. “The police
have informed that there are people inside the venue ready to create
trouble,” Ram Pratap Singh said.

“Three weeks after this idiotic situation, we had to step down from
the fight,” said Sanjoy Roy, the festival producer. “This is a sad day
for freedom of expression and freedom of writing... We had no other
way but to listen to save the people here, our children and everyone.”

He added that while they could not support this decision, they had
been “pushed to the wall”. Roy, however, lauded the Jaipur police who,
he said, were ready to provide security. “We are hurt and this is a
matter of shame but I thank the police.”

Uncertainty over the video conference began early Tuesday after
leaders of Muslim organisations turned up at the JLF venue. “The very
face of Salman Rushdie offends us and we will not allow this video
conference to happen,” said Sajid Mohammad, a leader of the Muslim
Manch. “We will not be responsible for what happens if this

The police said they were ready to handle any untoward incident but
could not predict the measures they would have to use if violence
broke out.