Salman Rushdie travel ban sought in India


India's Darul Uloom Deoband, a school of Muslim thought based in Uttar Pradesh, has requested that the central government bar author Salman Rushdie from attending a literary festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, later this month. The move could force the Congress Party into a corner, as it is hoping to win the Muslim vote in the Uttar Pradesh elections this February.


Cate Gillon

Salman Rushie may face a travel ban in his ancestral home of India, if a Muslim religious order in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh gets its way.

With campaigning for state elections underway, the Darul-Uloom Deoband has written to the central government demanding that it ban author Salman Rushdie from entering the country to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival in Rajasthan later this month, the Hindustan Times reports.

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Because the Congress is hoping to take the Muslim vote in its bid to unseat Mayawati's Dalit-upper caste coalition, India's grand old party may just be forced into complying with the ban — and dabbling in exactly the sort of politics that first made it vulnerable to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 1990s.

Given that the BJP is ramping up its old rhetoric of cow slaughter and magic cow dung in neighboring Madhya Pradesh, and every party is carefully crafting the candidate lists to hit the right equations of caste and creed in state elections, it's becoming clear that the “new politics” of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign will not be emerging any time soon.

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