Muslim organizations file cases against authors who read from Rushdie's book
JAIPUR: After the police complaints lodged a day earlier, at least half-a-dozen court cases have been filed against four authors and three organisers of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) where extracts from Salman Rushdie's banned book 'The Satanic Verses' were publicly read on January 20.
In Jaipur, five complaints have been filed by different individuals and organizations, including the All India Milli Council and the BJP minority cell, in a lower court demanding action against four authors Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi and festival organizers Sanjoy Roy, Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple.
Four of the complaints in Jaipur are scheduled to be heard by different courts on Tuesday, while the Milli Council's case is slated for a hearing on January 30. The case in Ajmer court by an individual allegedly linked to the ruling Congress party would be heard on January 25.
"We did not know that Rushdie would be participating at the literary event through video conferencing, otherwise we would have requested the court to order a stay on this too," the Mili Council secretary Abdul Latif told TOI on Monday.
The Council has sought action under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). "The book is banned in India so, legally, the authors cannot even read from it at a public event," Latif said. "We have sought action under IPC sections 153, 153A, 295, 295A, 298, 505, 504 and 120B," he added.
IPC Section 153 involves prosecution for wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, Section 153A relates to punishment for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, Section 295A pertains to deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious covers beliefs and Section 298 is invoked for uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.
"A series of complaints have been filed in separate courts, including five at Jaipur and one at Ajmer against the authors and organizers. One complaint at Jaipur is by the BJP minority cell's Daulat Khan and the one at Ajmer by Muzaffar Bharti, who represents a local group, is a primary member of the Congress," alleged Kavita Srivastava, the civil rights organization PUCL's secretary.
The hardliner Muslim organizations and community leaders have been opposing Rushdie's participation in the literary event this year even though the author attended it as one of the speakers in 2007. The Muslim community protestors maintain that Rushdie's book has hurt its religious sentiments.
Source : Times of India