Police unaware of underworld threat to Rushdie



Mumbai: Author Salman Rushdie may have called off his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival citing threat to his life from the Mumbai underworld, but police here on Saturday denied any such information.

"Mumbai police have not come across any such information," Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli said. He refused to further comment on the matter.

"The Satanic Verses" author had on Friday sent a written statement, which was read out by the organisers of the festival in Jaipur, calling off his visit.

"I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to 'eliminate' me," Rushdie had said in the statement.

Sounding unhappy with the threat perception that has grown after his visit became an issue for Muslim fundamentalists in the country of his birth, Rushdie said: "While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience and to my fellow writers."

The author, who had attended the festival in 2007, had also vented his ire on Twitter: "Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to 'eliminate' me. Will do video link instead. Damn."

The proposed visit had also acquired political overtones in view of elections in five states in India.

IANS