New Delhi: Attacking Salman Rushdie, Press
Council of India (PCI) Chairman Markandey Katju today said the
"sensationalism" depicted by his book `Satanic Verses` has
deeply hurt Muslim sensitivities and that an individual`s
freedom of speech has to harmonised with the public interest.
Justice Katju, who had last week termed Rushdie as a
"sub-standard and poor writer", also questioned the Booker
Prize awarded to the author saying it was "mystery" why he got
"Some people describe Rushdie as a great writer because
he has won the Booker Prize. In this connection, I wish to say
that Literature prizes are often a mystery. Out of the
approximately 100 Nobel Prizes given for literature till
today, nobody even remembers the name of 80 or more winners,"
he said in a statement here.
Referring to the Satanic Verses, he said that Rushdie
has, "certainly attacked, even though by insinuation, Islam
and the Prophet. Such sensationalism may have earned Rushdie
million of dollars, but it has deeply hurt Muslim
Justice Katju, who till recently was Supreme Court judge,
said the individual`s freedom of speech has to be "harmonised"
with the public interest.
"In other words, a balance has to be struck between the
two. Where to strike the balance is therefore a question of
crucial importance," he said, while noting that Article 19(2)
provides for "reasonable restrictions" on the freedom of
speech in the "interest of security of the State, public
order, decency, morality, etc."