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HomeBreaking NewsAuthor Salman Rushdie Stabbed on Stage in New York, in Surgery

Author Salman Rushdie Stabbed on Stage in New York, in Surgery

New Delhi: Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born novelist who was murdered by Iran in 1989 for his writing, was attacked onstage at an event in New York and sustained an apparent stab wound to the neck, according to New York State Police and an eyewitness.

A man rushed to the stage at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York state and attacked Rushdie when he was introduced to give a lecture on artistic freedom, an eyewitness said. A State Trooper present at the event has taken the attacker into custody, police said. The attack took place around 11 a.m. local time.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Rushdie was alive and “getting the care he needed.” Rushdie, 75, was taken to a hospital by helicopter, but police said his condition was not yet known.

Police did not give a motive for the attack and it is not clear what type of weapon was used.

Andrew Wylie, a spokesperson for Rushdie, said in an emailed statement that “Salman is undergoing surgery”, but had no further details to share.

According to the New York TimesRita Landman, an endocrinologist, sat in the audience and walked onto the stage to offer assistance. She said the 75-year-old writer “had multiple stab wounds, including one on the right side of his neck, and there was a pool of blood under his body”. But she said he appeared to be alive and not receiving CPR, according to the paper.

Rushdie fell to the ground as the man attacked him and was then surrounded by a small group of people who held up his legs, seemingly to send more blood to his upper body.

Author Salman Rushdie is aided by people after he was stabbed onstage for his scheduled speech at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, USA, August 12, 2022, in this photo obtained from social media. Photo: Charles Savenor/LOCAL NEWS X/TMX/via Reuters

According to the Buffalo NewsPaula Voelll said Rushdie was on the floor for “maybe five minutes”, after which he was helped to “behind the stage and out of sight” by a man on either side.

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Rushdie’s interviewer Henry Reese was also reported to have been attacked and suffered a minor head injury.

There were no apparent security checks at the site, staff were simply checking people’s entry tickets, the eyewitness in the audience said. The Chautauqua institution declined to comment when asked about security measures.

According to the Associated Press, the Chautauqua Institute is located about 85 miles southwest of Buffalo in a rural corner of New York and is known for its summer lecture series. Rushdie has spoken there before, the report said.

The Indian-born individual was at the institution to participate in a discussion about the US serving as an asylum for writers and artists in exile and “as a home for freedom of creative expression,” according to the institution’s website.

The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme religious leader, issued a fatwa or religious edict on the writer on February 14, 1989, calling on Muslims to kill Rushdie for alleged blasphemy against Islam in his fourth novel, The Devil’s Verses. After Khomeini’s fatwa, he had to go into hiding and live under police protection for several years.

The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer support the fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years. However, Iranian organizations have raised a multimillion-dollar bounty for Rushdie’s murder.

Iranian organizations, some of which are affiliated with the government, have raised a multimillion-dollar bounty for Rushdie’s murder. And Khomeini’s successor as Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said as late as 2017 that the fatwa was still valid.

The Devil’s Verses was banned in many countries, including India.

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Rushdie rose to fame with his 1981 Booker Prize-winning novel Midnight kids. He has dual British and American citizenship and has lived in the US since 2000.

Rushdie published a memoir about his life under the fatwa called Joseph Anton, the pseudonym he used while under police protection. His new novel victory city will be published in February.

He remains a fierce critic of religious extremism across the spectrum. He has criticized oppression and violence in India, including under Narendra Modi’s government.

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Author Salman Rushdie. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder/File Photo

PEN America, a free speech advocacy group of which Rushdie is a former president, said it was “tumbling with shock and horror” over what it called an unprecedented attack on a writer in the United States.

“Salman Rushdie has been the target of his words for decades but has never been shocked or wavered,” Suzanne Nossel, PEN’s CEO, said in the statement. Earlier in the morning, Rushdie had emailed her to help relocate Ukrainian writers seeking refuge, she said.

US Senator Chuck Schumer of New York called it “an attack on freedom of speech and thought”.

Note: This is a story in development. Details will be added as they become available.


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