London: The ‘Satanic Verses’ author Salman Rushdie has now been taken off the ventilator support after sustaining multiple stabs in his neck and abdomen. Rushdie had been airlifted to UPMC Hamot surgery centre in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery in a critical condition. Speculations were made that the writer may lose one of his eyes and maybe be unable to talk. However, Rushdie has retained his ability to talk, post-surgery.
The main accused of the attack, Hadi Matar,24, who was seen rushing to the stage where Salman was speaking and stabbing him brutally, has been pleading ‘not guilty’ in attempted murder. Henry Reese, the interviewer sharing the stage with Salman has also faced some minor injuries in the head. The accused, Hadi Matar, has been remanded in custody without bail.
As far as the attack is concerned, no official information about the motive has been yet revealed. Police had collected the items – a backpack and some electronics from the crime scene after acquiring the search warrants. The information on these items has also not been made public as of now.
Salman has faced a lifetime of death threats since the release of his most controversial publication ‘The Satanic Verses. The book has been considered blasphemous by Muslim communities. As a result, Islamic forces in Iran issued the ‘fatwas’ of death in the year 1988. Salman has been on their target since then. The author was forced into decade-long hiding following this controversial release. No statements have been issued by Iran on this matter so far.
The support and sympathies for the writer have been pouring in since the incident. The world has condemned this attack as an attack on ‘freedom of expression.
Born in India in 1947, Rushdie grew up while studying in a boarding school in England. Following that, he went on to study history at the University of Cambridge. In 2007, Salman was knighted for his services in the field of literature.