Jaipur/Muzaffarnagar: The cancellation of Salman Rushdie's India visit over security concerns fuelled an outrage on Friday in the literary community which said his absence is 'a stain' on the country's international reputation while a leading Islamic seminary dubbed it a 'victory of democracy'.

READ MORE:Rushdie calls off visit amidst death threat

Ruling out any Government role behind Rushdie calling off his visit to the Jaipur Literary festival amid protest threats, Congress said it was his "individual" decision as there was no restriction on his coming to attend the event that began on Friday.

Authors Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar in their tweets said that Rushdie's absence from the festival is "a stain on India's international reputation".

They used their session at the festival to read from Rushdie’s banned "Satanic Verses" as a mark of their protest. The two referred to the book during their own readings and discussions and actually went on to read out from it.

The organizers later asked Kumar not to go ahead with his reading.  But, Kumar ignored the call and went ahead with a passage from Rushdie’s book.

In fact just before his reading Kunzru tweeted:  "About to defy bigots and shoe throwers, reading @SalmanRushdie Satanic Verses on stage with @amitavakumar at #jaipur #jlf (sic)."

They also read out Rushdie’s tweet to the audience in which he had thanked the two for reading from his controversial book, to loud applause.

A perturbed Rushdie later tweeted: "@amitavakumar says organizers asked him not to continue reading from Satanic Verses." Willie, Sanjoy: why did this happen?".

He was referring to William Dalrymple and Sanjoy K Roy, the festival organizers.

Roy said it was sad that Rushdie had to cancel his trip, and termed the development very unfortunate.

Reacting to Rushdie's decision, Deoband Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani told reporters in Muzaffarnagar, "It is a victory of democracy because some Muslim organisations, including Darul Uloom Deoband, had opposed the visit to India in a democratic way."

The Islamic seminary had on January 9 asked government to bar Rushdie from coming to India as he had allegedly hurt religious sentiments of Muslims.

"Salman Rushdie's decision to not visit India is a wise one, and is good for the country. However, we demand that the person who hurt the religious sentiments of crores of people should never be allowed to set foot on Indian soil," Vice- Chancellor Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani said.

"We request the government to prevent Rushdie from entering the country in the future, as such people are harmful for society and our nation," he said.

The Deoband had demanded a life ban on the author on January 11.

Several Muslim groups, including the Deoband, were protesting against Rushdie's entry in India and participation in the literary event since the last few days.

The Booker Prize-winning author had earlier attended the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2007, without much fuss.

Other Muslim groups like Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind also welcomed the cancellation of the visit.

"The Rajasthan government should have been more sensitive to the demands of the people and refused to allow Rushdie to participate in the event," Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's Maulana Arshad Madani said.

"We welcome the decision, but are disappointed by the attitude of the Rajasthan government. It should have taken the demands of the people seriously and refused to allow Rushdie to visit the country," he said.

Very sad' not to be in Jaipur, tweets Rushdie

After cancelling his visit to India citing threats to his life, author Salman Rushdie said he was "very sad" not to be in Jaipur for the Literature Festival and was "sorry" if people felt that he let them down.

Immediately after festival organisers read out a statement by Rushdie announcing his decision to not travel to Jaipur as planned, the author expressed dismay on the microblogging site twitter.

"Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told Bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to "eliminate" me. Will do video link instead. Damn (sic)," posted Rushdie.

Within minutes, the twitterspace was flooded with reactions expressing outrage at the author's decision.

In response, Rushdie posted another tweet. "Much support and sympathy: thanks,everyone. Some say I let people down: sorry you feel that. Some Muslim hate tweets: pathetic," he said.

Journalist Vikas Bajaj tweeted that AmitavKumar had read out "some bits from the Satanic Verses on how to turn London into a tropical city".

In an angry comment targeted at a tweeter who posted an offensive post, Rushdie wrote,"@samirumisamir:to even consider visiting India, housing many faithful Muslims, shows how insensitive, empty headed u r! Go preach in Israel."

(Agencies)