Kolkata: Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed today called Salman Rushdie a “satan” and said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done the right thing if she indeed blocked the writer’s visit to Kolkata.
“I have no knowledge of what actually happened. But if the chief minister has indeed ordered the police to block Rushdie’s entry to the city, then she has done the right thing. We don’t have anything to learn from Rushdie,” Ahmed told IANS.
Ahmed, a member of the lower house of parliament, was the union minister of state for tourism in the United Progressive Alliance government till the Trinamool quit the ruling dispensation.
He said Rushdie’s only intention was to foment “inter-religious conflict” and added that freedom of expression did not give anyone the right to denigrate Prophet Mohammed.
“Rushdie is not an author; he is a satan,” Ahmed said.
His comments came on a day the Booker Prize-winning author Rushdie said he was forced to cancel his trip to Kolkata two days back as he was told on the eve of his departure that the police would refuse him entry to the city and put him on the next plane back at the request of the chief minister.
The controversial author of The Satanic Verses was slated to visit Kolkata on 30 January to promote Deepa Mehta’s film Midnight’s Children based on his homonymous novel.
Rushdie has long been embroiled in controversy over The Satanic Verses, which is perceived as anti-Islamic.