Cleric says Mamata Banerjee called Salman Rushdie 'evil'

Cleric says Mamata Banerjee called Salman Rushdie 'evil'
Kolkata "The simple fact is that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival," tweeted Salman Rushdie this morning, two days after his aborted visit to Kolkata.

He added, "The police gave my full itinerary to the press and called Muslim leaders, clearly inciting protests."

The man who claims he was behind it all is Maulana Barkati, the Imam of the Tipu Sultan Mosque.

"I spoke to Mamata Banerjee when she was in Darjeeling. Just one day before Salman was to come ...He was supposed to come in the morning. I got to know the night before. She said don't worry, I won't let him come. You don't worry. Ours is a secular state. It will remain secular. Mamata said he was a shaitan," the Imam said.

Ms Banerjee's party colleagues too were unapologetic. "If the West Bengal government stopped him from coming, then I congratulate the government, I congratulate Mamata Banerjee," said Trinamool MP  Sultan Ahmed.

Mr Rushdie also slammed the organisers of the Kolkata Literary Meet, his alleged hosts on Wednesday.

"The literary meet organizers are lying when they say I wasn't invited. I have emails and plane tkt sent by them to prove it," he tweeted.

Malavika Banerjee, the meet organizer refused to comment. But book fair authorities were scathing.

Tridib Chowdhury, one of the Kolkata book fair organisers said, "We didn't send him any invitation or air ticket.  Maybe he is a very great writer but he is lying."

On the ground, ordinary people in Kolkata are treading on eggshells on taking a position.

Biplab Ganguli, a television personality, said, "I don't know what the reason prompted the govt to take this action. But if it is anything apart from law and order situation, then I still feel it is not too fortunate."

But magasaysay award winner Mahasweta Debi is outraged. "Salman Rushdie has not been allowed to come. It is very unfortunate."

Clearly opinions are divided on whether it's a good thing Mr Rushdie couldn't make it to Kolkata or unfortunate that he could not visit the city of joy. But a question mark is hanging over the government's role in the whole exercise.
Story First Published: February 01, 2013 21:22 IST

................................ Advertisement ................................

FROM THE WEB
MORE FROM NDTV
Don't Miss

................................ Advertisement ................................