India-born author Salman Rushdie stabbed in neck at New York event : The Tribune India

India-born author Salman Rushdie stabbed in neck at New York event

Rushdie alive after attack; authorities monitoring situation: New York State Governor


New York, August 12

Salman Rushdie, the Mumbai-born controversial author, who faced Islamist death threats after writing ‘The Satanic Verses’, was attacked and suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck when a man stormed the stage as he was getting ready to deliver a lecture during an event here on Friday, New York Police said.

An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. Reuters and PTI/AP

Rushdie, 75, who won the Booker Prize for his novel ‘Midnight’s Children’, was stabbed by a man on stage while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

He fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands. The audience tackled the attacker and Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.

“State Police are investigating an attack on author Salman Rushdie prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. On August 12, 2022, at about 11 a.m., a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer,” New York Police said in a statement.

“Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is not yet known. The interviewer suffered a minor head injury. A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene,” it said.

Rushdie’s fourth book The Satanic Verses in 1988 forced him into hiding for nine years.

A year after the book’s publication, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s execution for publishing the book for its blasphemous content.

Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.

Rushdie alive after attack; authorities monitoring situation: New York State Governor

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said Rushdie, who has “spent decades speaking truth to power”, is “alive” after being attacked onstage and has been airlifted to safety and authorities are monitoring the situation.

“It is heartbreaking to learn that within the last hour, a prominent individual, Salman Rushdie, was attacked on a stage in western New York just before he was about to give a speech. He is alive, he has been transported, airlifted to safety,” Hochul said in remarks at an event on ‘Preventing Gun Violence, Protecting New Yorkers’.

She said Rushdie has spent decades “speaking truth to power, someone who’s been out there unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life it seems.”

She commended the New York State Police and the State Police officer who stood up and saved Rushdie’s life and protected him as well as the moderator who was attacked as well.

“We’re monitoring the situation. Rushdie is getting the care he needs at a local hospital. I’ll be giving more information on the identity of the perpetrator and the case that’ll be brought in that part of the state,” she said.

A leading literary organisation expressed “shock and horror” at the “brutal, premeditated” attack on Rushdie.

“PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie, who was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.

“We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil. While we do not know the origins or motives of this attack, all those around the world who have met words with violence or called for the same are culpable for legitimising this an assault on a writer while he was engaged in his essential work of connecting to readers,” she said.

Nossel said that just hours before the attack, Salman had emailed her to help with placements for Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge from the grave perils they face.

“Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered. He has devoted tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and menaced. Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced,” Nossel said.

Several users on the social media site posted visuals from the event in Chautauqua, New York that showed emergency medical crews and other authorities on stage at the event where Rushdie was reportedly stabbed.

One Twitter user said the amphitheater where the event was being held has been evacuated and Rushdie was taken off the stage while the attacker is in custody.

Rushdie was at the Chautauqua Institution on August 12 for a special Chautauqua Lecture Series event exploring the Week Seven theme of ‘More than Shelter’, joined by Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum — the largest residency programme in the world for writers living in exile under threat of persecution — for a discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

“One of the most celebrated authors of our time, Salman Rushdie is the author of 14 novels, four works of nonfiction and a collection of short stories, in addition to serving as co-editor of two anthologies,” the organisation said.

The winner of many of the world’s top literary prizes, Rushdie served as founding president in 1994 of the International Parliament of Writers (now the International Network of Cities of Asylum) — an organisation formed to create structures capable of aiding and supporting persecuted writers, and what eventually became known as the Cities of Asylum Network, it said.

Rushdie’s works include Luka and the Fire of Life; Grimus; Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and, later, the Best of the Booker); Shame; The Satanic Verses; Haroun and the Sea of Stories; The Moor’s Last Sigh; The Ground Beneath Her Feet; Fury; Shalimar the Clown among others.

His memoir is titled Joseph Anton —named for the pseudonym he used while in hiding following the fatwa that had been issued by Khomeini in the midst of widespread controversy over Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.”


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