Jaipur: A group of independent writers and artists on Sunday presented a petition supporting the right of all artists and writers to freedom of expression and revoking of the ban on Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses'.

“We strongly urge the government to reconsider the 23-year-old ban of the Satanic Verses,” said the petition said, presented to the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival's co-director William Dalrymple.

''The Satanic Verses' has not incited violence anywhere; others have used the novel's existence to incite violence to suit their political ends.”

“Within India, in the 23 years since the ban, we have witnessed an erosion of respect for freedom of expression, as artists like M.F Husain, Chandramuhun Srimantula, Jatin Das, and Balbir Krishan have been intimidated, and works of writers like Rohinton Mistry and A.K. Ramanujan have been withdrawn because of threats by groups claiming to be offended,” the petition said.

India is one of the very few countries in the world where the ban stands, placing the country alongside Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, Liberia and Papua New Guinea, among others, the petition said.

“We submit with respect that there is a democratic need to review and re-examine the circumstances that led to the original ban of the Verses in 1988, which have changed greatly over time,” the petition said.

Dalrymple was not available for comment.

(Agencies)