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Did Mamata stop Rushdie from visiting Kolkata?


Salman Rushdie


NEW DELHI: Controversy over Salman Rushdie’s plan to visit Kolkata refuses to die down with the Booker prize-winner author on February 1 alleging that the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee herself ordered the police to block his arrival. According to TV reports, the author has left for London.

Rushdie was to visit Kolkata on January 30 for the promotion of the film Midnight’s Children which is based on his Booker-winning novel. He, however, had to cancel his visit as, he claimed, the Kolkata Police did not want him to be there.

Rushdie on January 31 tweeted, “The police (Kolkata) gave my full itinerary to the press and called Muslim leaders, clearly inciting protest.” He also said he did not get “friendly advice” (to stay out) — as claimed by the Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy — but was told the police would put him on next plane out.

He tweeted, “Ridiculous, Saugata Roy. I did not get friendly advice to stay away from Kolkata. I was told the police would put me on next plane out ... The simple fact is that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival.”

Rushdie also said the literary meet organisers were lying when they say I wasn’t invited. “I have emails and plane ticket sent by them to prove it.”

He had earlier visited Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai as part of his promotional trip to the film which was produced by Deepa Mehta who also called off her trip to Kolkata.

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