BJP slams Congress over Rushdie row
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 22:39
New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday said the row over granting of visa to controversial author Salman Rushdie was the creation of the Congress-led government at the Centre as it wanted to take political mileage ahead of the Assembly polls by first inviting him and then cancelling his visit.

"The Congress government had first proposed this idea by inviting Rushdie for the literary festival in Jaipur and now for political reasons it wants to dispose him," BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said when asked about the controversy.

On its part, Congress left it to the government to take a call on the issue of visa. It, however, maintained nobody's religious sentiments should be hurt.

Rushdie was invited to the Jaipur literary festival but the Deoband clerics demanded that he should not be issued a visa. The celebrated author, who had earlier won the Booker of Bookers, has won the ire of Muslim clerics due to his controversial views on Islam.

"This was not the right time to call Rushdie to India as he is a controversial figure and there are elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other states. There would be tension due to his presence," Naqvi said.

The BJP alleged that Congress has deliberately invited him to annoy the Muslim clerics and will now not allow him to visit India thus winning the support of the clerics.

"Congress is doing all this to take political mileage ahead of the elections in UP," Naqvi said.

At the AICC briefing, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "No one should play with religious sentiments of anyone."

As far as the issue of visa is concerned, it is a matter for the government to look into it and take a decision.

On its part, Government ruled out barring Rushdie from visiting India as he holds a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card which entitles him to visit this country without a visa.


First Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 22:39

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