New Delhi: Amid protests by Muslim groups
against hosting Salman Rushdie in Jaipur, Delhi Chief Minister
Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday said one may have differences with what
he writes but the "very, very eminent" writer is welcome in
Dikshit`s remarks came when asked about the open
invitation extended by artist-activist group `Sahmat` to
Rushdie yesterday to attend a function in Delhi following
developments in the Jaipur Literature Festival.
"We welcome everyone. We don`t want to get into all this.
He is a very well known writer and there may be differences in
opinion over what he writes. He is a very very eminent writer.
He is a Booker Prize winner," she told reporters on the
sidelines of a function here.
Rushdie had to cancel his visit to the Jaipur Literature
Festival after Muslim organisations protested against his
participation in the event.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also flagged
concerns about his presence in the pink city due to the
protests against the writer, who is in the eye of a storm once
again for his novel `Satanic Verses` written 23 years ago.
Alleging that the state exhibited a "cowardly
unwillingness" in standing up to communal forces on Rushdie`s
India visit, Sahmat yesterday said they were ready to host him
under any circumstances along with an exhibition of the works
of late artist M F Husain, "who was driven into forced exile
by a similar retreat".
`Sahmat` had previously defied an unofficial ban on
Rushdie`s novel "The Moor`s Last Sigh" by conducting readings
from the text on the streets of Delhi in 1995.