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Rushdie's Kolkata visit cancelled

Posted on Jan 31, 11:27AM | UNI

Kolkata, Jan 30 : Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie cancelled his visit to Kolkata today to promote Deepa Mehta's film 'Midnight's Children', based on his booker winning novel.

The UK-based author, who has been in the centre of controversy
for his 'Satanic verses', was scheduled to hold a press meet about the film and attend an autograph session at the ongoing Kolkata Book Fair.

Filmmaker Deepa Mehta and Midnight's Children producer David

Hamilton, who were also scheduled to visit the city, cancelled
their trip.

PVR Pictures, the Indian distributors of the movie, confirmed that Rushdie and Mehta had cancelled their visit.

''We had plans with him (Rushdie) to promote the film in Kolkata. But he is not coming here. It is his personal call. We now plan to do some more programmes in Mumbai,'' PVR Pictures (vice-president- marketing) Arun Nair said.

Unconfirmed reports were doing rounds that Rushdie's trip had

been cancelled following an advice by Kolkata Police citing security reasons. However, police did not confirm it.

''I don't know anything about Salman Rushdie's visit. I have nothing to say,'' Kolkata Police Joint Commissioner (Headquarters)
Jawed Shamim said.

Meanwhile, an Islamic organisation, which had mailed protest letters to the state Government against Rushdie's visit, staged a
demonstration near the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International
Airport this morning.

The main cast of 'Midnight's Children', besides Rushdie, has
toured Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore over the past week. Kolkata
was the last destination.

Rushdie had received death threats following a 'Fatwa' by
Iranian Islamic clergies for 'Satanic Verses' which was held by
them as blasphemous and anti-Islamic.

Another controversial author Taslima Nasrin, who had been living in Kolkata, was forced to leave the city in 2008 following virulent protests by few Muslim groups. Nasreen, who had been hounded from her home land in Bangladesh, also had to leave India because of visa problems and has been living in Europe since then.