New Delhi: The government has distanced itself from the Rushdie controversy on his proposed visit to India for attending the Jaipur Literature Festival. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made it clear that it was Rushdie’s sole decision to cancel his India visit and the government must not be held responsible for the same.

Answering to a question raised at a press conference, he said, “He is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and does not require a visa. He can come to India as per his own wish.”

He affirmed that the government had no role in preventing his proposed visit opposed by Islamic groups and added, “In fact, the Home Ministry had issued an advisory to the government of Delhi and Rajasthan regarding the security concerns”.

The Home Minister rubbished the rumors of cancelling the author’s likely video conferencing under the pressure of Rajasthan Police and said, “It was the decision of the organizers.”

Chidambaram refused to comment on legal action against authors for reading stanzas of Rushdie’s banned book 'The Satanic Verses' saying, “I have no knowledge of the law in this regard.”

The publication and import of 'The Satanic Verses' is banned in the country but whether the rule applies on reading some parts of the book, will be decided by the court. Some organizations have filed a petition in the Jodhpur High Court for action against the authors for reading out some paragraphs of the book at the Literature Festival.

(JPN/Bureau)