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India

Salman Rushdie Denied Entry To Calcutta Amidst Security Fears

HINDUSTAN TIMES, TELEGRAPH INDIA, TIMES OF INDIA (India)

Worldcrunch

CALCUTTA- Author Salman Rushdie’s visit to Calcutta to promote the film adapted from his novel “Midnight’s Children” has been cancelled, due to security issues.

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Salman Rushdie by futureshape

Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses earned him a fatwa death sentence from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, was in India for the promotion of the film, reports the Telegraph India. Calcutta was supposed to be the last stop on the tour of his native country.

Phone calls from police officers as well as “a senior minister” were made to the organizers of the Calcutta Book Fair, sources said. As well as that, The Times of India reported that Muslims from various groups had gathered to protest the arrival of the novelist at the airport.

In an interview last week with the Hindustan Times, Rushdie said: “It feels like I’m closing a big circle that begun when I was very young; like I’m bringing the film of the novel back home.”

He added that he was “bored of being called controversial” and hoped that the Muslims and Hindus in the country would “hold their nerve” so that the promotion of the film would not be embroiled in trouble.

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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