Thousands of People Warn Against Rushdie's Visit to India

February 20, 1999 - 0:0
NEW DELHI Thousands of Muslim angry protestors burned an effigy of British apostate writer Salman Rushdie on Friday, protesting against Indian government's decision to grant him a visa. The demonstrators, shouting anti-government slogans, assembled near India's largest mosque in the capital and pledged that they would not allow Indian-born Rushdie to put his step in our sacred land. Hindu-majority India, home to the world's second largest Muslim population, was the first country to ban the Satanic Verses. In the novel the apostate writer has blasphemed Islam. India, where the Hindu nationalist BJP party took power in March 1998, issued a five-year multiple visa last month to Rushdie, whose expected visit has already led to protests from Muslims in the country.

We can go to any extent against this enemy of Islam ... the BJP will be responsible for the consequences, Maulana Nawabuddin, a Muslim leader warned. He said Rushdie's arrival would injure the sentiments of the Muslims and peace will be endangered. Another leader, Mohammed Juniad, said if the Indian government refused to cancel the visa then millions of Muslims willl take to the streets and hold protest rallies and demonstrations.

India is home to some 125 million Muslims. (AFP)