New Delhi: A couple of hours after accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of blocking his visit to the eastern metropolis to promote a new film based on his novel ‘Midnight’s Children’, Booker prize winning author Salman Rushdie on Friday left India to go back to the UK.
Rushdie's visit to Kolkata was part of a publicity tour for the Deepa Mehta-directed film which hit theaters in India today.
Rushdie had earlier claimed that Mamata Banerjee had ordered the police to block his arrival and accused the police of giving details of his itinerary to the press and encouraged Muslim leaders to protest.
The celebrated author has been facing protest over his 1998 book ‘Satanic Verses’, which was banned in India for alleged blasphemy.
"The police (Kolkata) gave my full itinerary to the press and called Muslim leaders, clearly inciting protest," Rushdie had tweeted this morning.
He also said he did not get "friendly advice" (to stay out) - as claimed by the Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy - but was told the police would put him on next plane out.
"Ridiculous, Saugata Roy. I did not get friendly advice to stay away from Kolkata. I was told the police would put me on next plane out. The simple fact is that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival," he said.
Rushdie also said the literary meet organizers were lying when they say I wasn't invited. "I have emails and plane ticket sent by them to prove it".
The author had earlier visited Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai as part of his promotional trip to the film which was produced by Deepa Mehta.
Trinamool Congress leader Sultan Ahmad rooted against Salman’s arrival and congratulated the West Bengal government for taking the step to keep him away from the state.
Speaking to a news channel, Ahmad said, “To keep communal harmony and national integration, it is better that Salman Rushdie should keep away from this state (West Bengal) and should not come here. We should not talk more about this matter instead we should defend his not coming to this state.”
Rushdie, however, expressed his heartfelt feelings over the warm welcome he received from his fans in India. “Many thanks to the Indian public & media in Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore for greeting me so warmly & expressing such affection for my work,” tweeted the author.
First Published: Friday, February 01, 2013, 13:29