Update (12:45 p.m. EST): The two Indian authors wound up reading from Rushdie's banned The Satanic Verses after all, Times of India reports. "The two authors referred to the book during their own readings and discussions and actually went on to read out portions from the book." Meanwhile, Rushdie got a little Twitter support in regards to that Bombay mafioso from none other than famous gangster Mia Farrow, who tweeted: "Dear Mumbai Mafia Don who hired hit men to eliminate @salmanrushdie. Mafia is mothers milk to me- you dont want to end up as cement. Chao!"
Original: Salman Rushdie announced on Friday that he wouldn't attend a literary festival in India because he'd been told there was a plot against his life, and then other writers who wanted to fill in for him found themselves dissuaded as well. All around, Rushdie's role in the festival represented a pretty effective stymie against expression in India. "Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to 'eliminate' me. Will do video link instead. Damn," Rushdie tweeted.
So writers at the festival, incensed that the threat of violence had kept their colleague away, announced they would read from The Satanic Verses, the book that originally made him a target of a fatwa. But the book is banned in India, and NDTV reports that at the last minute, authorities persuaded writers Hari Kunzru and Avitava Kumar not to go ahead with their reading. "The book is banned and if somebody tries to do this, they may bear the consequences," said Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who NDTV identified as a "Congress spokesperson." So thugs kept Rushdie away and local laws kept his writing from being shared. That's about as clear an example of how suppression of thought works as we can imagine.