Salman Rushdie Cancels India Appearance After Assassination Threats

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William Wegman, Laurie Anderson, Salman Rushdie==PRATT INSTITUTE LEGENDS 2011==7 World Trade Center, NYC==November 1, 2011==© Patrick McMullan==Photo - Patrick McMullan/ PatrickMcMullan.com==== Photo: Patrick McMullan/© Patrick McMullan

Salman Rushdie has backed out of the Jaipur Literary Festival because he learned that "paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to 'eliminate' [him]," he said in a statement. "While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the Festival in such circumstances." Rushdie, whose Satanic Verses is actually banned in India, spoke at the lit fest in 2007 without incident, and tweeted today that he "will do video link instead" of his planned appearance. Literature fans will now have to reorient their enthusiasm toward Oprah, Richard Dawkins, Annie Proulx, Tom Stoppard, or one of the other hundreds of other speakers appearing at the festival.