Tewari avoids commenting on controversy over Rushdie's Kolkata visit

Chandigarh, Feb. 1 (ANI): Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Friday refused to comment on the ongoing controversy surrounding author Salman Rushdie's proposed visit to Kolkata, saying it would be far more appropriate that the West Bengal Government responds on it.

"I think if Mr. Salman Rushdie has an issue with the Chief Minister of West Bengal or the Government of West Bengal, it would be far more appropriate that the Government of West Bengal responds because it is an issue between the two of them. We have really nothing to say on that matter," he told the media here.

The Booker prize-winning author has said that he was banned from visiting Kolkata earlier this week by the West Bengal government headed by Mamata Banerjee.

The author claimed that Banerjee had ordered the police to block his arrival. He also accused the police of giving details of his itinerary to the press and for calling on Muslim leaders to protest against his visit.

"I did not get friendly advice to stay away from Kolkata. I was told the police would put me on the next plane out. The simple fact is that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival," Rushdie tweeted before leaving India.

Rushdie has been facing protests over his 1998 book 'Satanic Verses', which was banned in India for alleged blasphemy.

Last year, he was forced to pull out of the Jaipur Literature Festival after some groups protested against his visit. (ANI)

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