Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today tweeted to say that he was “utterly horrified and shocked” by the stabbing of Salman Rushdie at an event in the US, as he wished the Indian-origin author a complete recovery from his wounds. Calling it a sad day, the Congress leader, who has reviewed Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, said that it is “worse if creative expression can no longer be free and open”.
Mr Rushdie, 75, is on ventilator and could lose an eye, doctors treating him have said. Police have identified his attacker.
Friday’s knife attack on Mr Rushdie comes more than 33 years after the fatwa against him by Iran for writing “The Satanic Verses”. The book released in 1988 was considered by some clerics as disrespectful to the Prophet Mohammed.
A $2.8-million bounty was put on the writer’s head.
In October 1988, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi banned the import of the book. Some 20 countries also outlawed it.
“Salman (Rushdie) would be assuming after a good 33 years since the original fatwa that at least there would be no particular complication anymore that people have adjusted…. He was actually wondering around quite normally with his security and so on… It must have come as a terrible shock… for everyone who values freedom of expression, and values the safety and sanctity of individuals. This is a terrible piece of news and I am really appalled that there are still people who believe that the answer to words is lives. The answer to words is other words. This is terrible,” Mr Tharoor said over phone to NDTV shortly after the attack yesterday.
A British citizen of Indian origin – living in the US for the past 20 years – Salman Rushdie had very much resumed a normal life until Friday’s knife attack.