Wrong to stop Rushdie: Amartya

February 04, 2013 - 12:13:33 am

Kolkata: Noted economist Amartya Sen yesterday criticised Muslim groups for the hue and cry over writer Salman Rushdie’s plan to visit the city, saying it amounted to distracting attention from the community’s real issues and was against Indian tradition of constructive argument.

“Lot of people, who are enormously disadvantaged, have enormous reasons to complain about other things,” the Nobel laureate said at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

“Here, I’m not only speaking about the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes but add to the fact that even in West Bengal, if you look at Muslim groups in terms of the even-handedness of progress, they have not been as privileged,” he said.

“To subvert that issue into a completely different kind of issue and getting offended about something else is distracting attention from the real disadvantage that they face,” Sen said, replying to a query on the Rushdie episode.

Rushdie, who has been at the centre of storm for decades over The Satanic Verses, a novel perceived as anti-Islamic, cancelled his visit to Kolkata at the last moment.

He alleged he was forced to call off his trip to Kolkata because West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had ordered the police to block his arrival.