Dismissing eminent writer Salman Rushdie's charge that the Rajasthan police had invented a “plot” to keep him away from the Jaipur Literature Festival, the State government on Monday night said it had received intelligence inputs that the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was planning to target him during the festival.
“Salman Rushdie's allegation on Rajasthan police is completely baseless. The State government had received reactions and inputs from intelligence agencies, individuals and organisations in this regard,” Principal Secretary (Home) G.S. Sandhu said in a statement.
“The intelligence agencies informed the State government five-six times from December 28, 2011 to January 20, 2012 that SIMI was planning to target Rushdie during the festival. The agencies also said that a former general secretary of SIMI deputed a man in June 2010 to target Rushdie when he finds an occasion. The man was given money and weapon too,” he said.
Mr. Sandhu said the man, who was assigned the task, had also conducted a survey of Godrej guesthouse in Mumbai where Mr. Rushdie stays during his Mumbai visit.
Referring to a letter no. 14012/26/2012 — NI 1, Mr. Sandhu said that the State government received an advisory from the Union Home Ministry on January 17 in which it was informed that a former office-bearer of SIMI, Sakib Nachan, was planning to target Mr. Rushdie during his (proposed) Jaipur visit.
“In the advisory, it was mentioned that one Saiyad Nuri announced a cash reward of Rs. 1 lakh for hurling shoes at Rushdie. The State government was directed to make elaborate arrangements for security and law and order,” he said.
“By these facts, it is clear that Mr. Rushdie's allegation against the Rajasthan police is absolutely groundless,” Mr. Sandhu said.
The Booker Prize winning author, in his tweets, on Sunday accused the Rajasthan police of inventing a “plot” to keep him away from the festival.