Salman Rushdie will not attend a literature festival in India after authorities warned the controversial author he was a potential target of assassins at the event, following threats of protests from Muslim groups at his planned appearance.
Opposition from some Indian Muslim groups erupted this month after Rushdie was invited to attend Asia's largest literature festival, and senior Muslim leaders called on the government to prevent the 65-year-old author from entering the country.
"I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to eliminate me," Rushdie said in a statement read out by the festival producer.
"While I have some doubts as to the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances."
"The Muslims of Jaipur were planning a protest against Rushdie. Since he is not coming, we have cancelled it," Abdul Haq Shamshi, member of the Jaipur Jama Masjid committee told Reuters.
"If he is deceiving us, and if he comes, we will protest at a minute's notice," he said, adding that thousands of protesters would take to the streets if the author arrived in the city.