A day after Salman Rushdie cancelled his India visit citing intelligence inputs that “paid assassins” from Mumbai were out to eliminate him, Maharashtra police on Saturday said they had no such information about threat to the controversial author.
“When we had no information that gangsters or paid assassins from Mumbai underworld had planned to eliminate Salman Rushdie how could we have shared it to anybody,” Maharashtra Director General of Police K Subramaniam said.
He, however, said he was not aware if Rajasthan police had any such inputs and had shared information with Mr. Rushdie.
In a statement read out to the press yesterday by Jaipur Literature Festival producer Sanjoy K Roy, the Booker Prize winning author had said he had been told by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that “paid assassins” from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to “eliminate” him.
Mumbai police crime branch, which usually deals with underworld-related cases, also denied having received any intelligence inputs about threat to Mr. Rushdie.
“We do not have any information suggesting that underworld is planning to harm Rushdie,” said Deputy Police Commissioner (Crime) Nisar Tamboli.
“Rushdie faces threat only from fundamentalists and not the underworld,” a senior IPS officer who did not want to be named said, adding, “I don’t think that fundamentalists have given any contract for killing Rushdie.”
As the five-day literary meet kicked off, Mr. Rushdie had stated, “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. I will, therefore, not travel to Jaipur as planned.”
Mr. Rushdie’s proposed visit was objected to by India’s largest Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband and had raised the hackles of several right wing groups.
Deoband had on January 9 asked Rajasthan government to bar Mr. Rushdie from coming to India as he had hurt religious sentiments of Muslims.