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Ban on Salman Rushdie’s book by Rajiv govt was wrong – Chidambaram


New Delhi: Former home minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday said that the decision of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress Government to ban the book ‘The Satanic Verses’ by British Author Salman Rushdie in 1989 was wrong.

“I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie’s book was wrong…Even 20 years back, I would have said the same thing,” Chidambaram said at Times Lit Fest here.

A major controversy had erupted in 1989 after the release of the book ‘satanic verses’ when several Muslims accused it of blasphemy and mocking their faith.

In 1989, the then Congress government had banned the book for its purported attacks on Islam.

The same year, Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa against Rushdie and called for his death. This resulted in several failed assassination attempts on Rushdie, who was then placed under police protection.

When asked if the issue of growing intolerance in the country was being exaggerated, the former home minister said that exaggeration was necessary to make a point.

“That is a tool in the hands of those who want to make a point. Sometimes you must exaggerate, if necessary, in order to make a point. Sometime you have to blow up a picture so that people with short sight can see it,” he said.

Several prominent personalities including artists, writers, poets and filmmakers have raised their voices against the alleged growing intolerance in the country in recent times. Bollywood starts such as Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan have also expressed their concern over the matter. (ANI)

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