The threat of violence against Salman Rushdie was no joke, Indian officials have said. It was so real, in fact, that not only was Rushdie's physical appearance canceled, but his video address got pulled as well. In an interview with India's NDTV, the livid author said he was disappointed that Indian politicians were "in bed" with the religious groups protesting his appearance. Rushdie announced last Friday that he wouldn't be attending the Jaipur Literature Festival because he'd gotten information that an Indian gangster was plotting to kill him, but he had planned to appear via video link. On Sunday Rushdie tweeted that he thought police had lied to him about the plot in an attempt to keep him from appearing, but on Tuesday the Rajasthan State government put out a statement confirming the threat of violence was real indeed, The New York Times' India Ink blog reported, with the state government "constantly receiving information from intelligence agencies that SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) was plotting to eliminate Salman Rushdie during the Jaipur Literature Festival." With Rushdie kept out of the festival, extremists turned to the venue itself, threatening violence if he even appeared via video, a separate India Ink post said.
But Rushdie made his way to the Indian media anyway, doing an interview on NDTV, in which he excoriated the Indian government's cooperation with the Muslim groups that still see him as the target of a fatwa for his 1988 book The Satanic Verses. Rushdie told NDTV's Barkha Dutt he was disappointed in the country (the screenshot, below, comes from the transcript of Rushdie's interview, available on NDTV's website):