New York State Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday said author Salman Rushdie, who has "spent decades speaking truth to power" is "alive" after being attacked onstage at an event here has been airlifted to safety and authorities are monitoring the situation.
Rushdie, the 75-year-old Mumbai-born controversial author who faced Islamist death threats after writing 'The Satanic Verses', was attacked and suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck when a man stormed the stage while he was being introduced during the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
He fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands. The audience tackled the attacker and Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.
"It is heartbreaking to learn that within the last hour, a prominent individual, Salman Rushdie, was attacked on a stage in western New York just before he was about to give a speech. He is alive, he has been transported, airlifted to safety," Hochul said in remarks at an event on 'Preventing Gun Violence, Protecting New Yorkers'.
She said Rushdie has spent decades "speaking truth to power, someone who's been out there unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life it seems." She commended the New York State Police and the State Police officer who stood up and saved Rushdie's life and protected him as well as the moderator who was attacked as well.
"We're monitoring the situation. Rushdie is getting the care he needs at a local hospital. I'll be giving more information on the identity of the perpetrator and the case that'll be brought in that part of the state," she said.
Rushdie was at the Chautauqua Institution, a place that Hochul described as a "tranquil", rural community "where the most preeminent speakers and thought leaders and politicians and justices and everyone come together" for "free expression of thought." "So this is a place ideally suited for him to be able to speak and that's what he was attempting to do just in the last hour before he was attacked," she said.
She said the incident "hits right here, It hits all of us. But we are undeterred then. We are undeterred and our commitment to make sure that we call it out, we condemn what happened, we condemn all violence. And we want people to feel that freedom to speak and to write truths," she said vowing to protect this right.