Jaipur: Despite the presence of reality television host Oprah Winfrey, author Salman Rushdie continued to cast his shadow on the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday.
While Winfrey was addressing a session, high drama was witnessed in a separate wing as Publisher S Anand clashed with organisers of the festival for distancing themselves from the controversial author and those who supported him.
As Anand, who was moderating a session on the "Literature of Protest", lashed out, festival organiser Namita Gokhale walked in with an immediate clarification.
Four authors - Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi- had created a ripple at the festival by reading out from Rusdhie's "Satanic Verses", after the India-born author announced cancellation of his visit citing death threats.
Festival organisers had issued a strong statement dissociating themselves from the actions of the four authors, against whom a case was registered for the act of reading from a banned book at a public platform.
To emphasise his point, Anand quoted from Rushdie "What kind of idea are you" which led to applause from the audience.
He said, "We have been discussing about books....there are other writers and authors like Salman Rudhie. There is Oprah and whatever happens there is no excuse to say this controversy should shut down our voices."
Gokhale intervened to say, "It was hurtful of Anand who has been coming here for many years to suggest that we have asked the four authors to leave.”
"The festival is still looking after their safety and they were not asked to leave."
"I want to explain that what is most hurtful is that the festival has over 265 authors and writers who are being sidelined due to this ...the police and the state government have been cooperating with us... we have the responsibility to ensure the safety of those who are attending the festival," said Gokhale.
She said there were some sections of people who "were spreading the wrong idea" and requested "everyone to behave responsibly".