Jaipur: Salman Rushdie’s India trip to attend Jaipur Literature Festival has hit the hornet’s nest as Rajasthan’s BJP unit along with various organizations decided to conduct agitation to protest the controversial writer.

The Congress does not want to get annoyance of the Muslims over the issue in the face of assembly elections. “There is law in the country and it should take its own course. And if law permits, there must be a ban. We cannot do anything beyond law,” Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said.

India's top Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on Monday asked the government not to allow Rushdie to come to India for the literature festival as the author has ‘hurt the sentiments of Muslims’ across the world by his alleged blasphemous content in his novel.

Darul Uloom, Deoband, Vice-Chancellor Abul Qasim Nomani said, “If the government does not cancel the visa immediately, we will take the issue with Prime Minister and Congress president.”

The BJP accused the Congress of playing politics by inviting Salman Rushdie to the Jaipur Literature Festival despite knowing that 'conditions are not favourable' to welcome the writer to India.

Blaming the government for adopting double standards in case of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin and India-born British Citizen Rushdie, the Bharatiya Janata Party asked the government to clear the air.

Citing the example of Nasrin, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “The same parameters should be followed in case of freedom of expressions of the writers.”

“First, the Congress proposed Rushdie to come to India and now it will only dispose the visa. There is a political game and if they knew that conditions are not favorable to welcome Salman Rushdie why did they give visa to him,” said Naqvi.

65-year-old Rushdie had earned the wrath of Muslims worldwide due to the alleged blasphemous content in his novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ which was published in 1988.

The novel, which was banned by India, had sparked outrage in the Muslim world, including a fatwa against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989.

Sanjoy Roy, managing director of Teamworks Production which is organising the Jaipur Literature Festival said, "A literary platform like the Jaipur festival provides a space for free speech in India's best democratic traditions.”

"Salman Rushdie has attended several literary events and forums in India in recent years without any incident. This includes his attending the Commonwealth Writers Prize awards in 2000 and the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2007.

JPN/Bureau