Updated: Fri, 12 Aug 2022 10:45 PM IST
Renowned author Salman Rushdie popularly known for his controversial book 'The Satanic Verses' was attacked on stage on Friday at an event in New York. The condition of the author is still unknown. As per media reports, Salman was taken to the hospital by a medical helicopter. A man ran onto the stage and either punched or stabbed him when the author was about to give a lecture. As soon as the incident took place, others rushed to the aid of the author who had collapsed on the stage. The attacker was subsequently restrained.
Rushdie condition was not immediately known. "We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time," a Chautauqua Institution spokesperson said as quoted by Reuters.
A video posted online shows attendees rushing onto the stage immediately following the incident. The attacker is said to have been restrained by those on the scene.
According to witnesses at the scene, Rushdie fell through a barrier to the stage and was seen with blood on his hands. The audience tackled the attacker. Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.
A Delhi-based British writer William Dalrymple was among the first few ones to react to the news.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "A terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and for authors everywhere. Poor poor Salman: I pray he's not hurt and recovers quickly."
Meanwhile, late in the 1980s, Salman Rushdie faced several death threats over his book 'The Satanic Verses'. The book is banned in Iran since 1988 as it is allegedly blasphemous. Later, a fatwa was issued by Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, calling for Rushdie’s death.
Despite getting so many death threats, Rushdie continued to produce several novels throughout the 1990s. Back in 2007, Salman Rushdie was knighted — given the ceremonial title of 'Sir' — by Queen Elizabeth II for services to literature. Over a dozen of works including non-fictional novels have been produced by the author.
Earlier, a bounty of as high as USD 3 million was also declared for anyone who kills Rushdie. A British citizen of Indian origin, Mr Rushdie has lived in the US for the past 20 years.
Rushdie returns to Chautauqua Institution for a special Chautauqua Lecture Series event exploring the Week Seven theme of “More than Shelter,” joined by Henry Reese, co-founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum - the largest residency programme in the world for writers living in exile under threat of persecution - for a discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.
(with agency inputs)