Written by 5:26 pm In the News

Salman Rushdie stabbed

Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck at an event in New York, US, on Friday just as he was about to give a lecture.

Rushdie is on ventilator and could lose an eye after he underwent surgery. His agent said that the nerves in the 75-year-old Rushdie’s arm were severed and the author’s liver was damaged.

Mr Rushdie was being introduced by another person before his lecture when the attacker jumped onto the stage.

Investigators booked Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, with one count of attempted second-degree murder in Rushdie’s stabbing and one count of second-degree assault on a man who shared a stage with the author at the time of the attack, according to a statement from authorities.

The author fell to the floor immediately after the attack and Matar was restrained.

A small group of people quickly surrounded Mr Rushdie, holding up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest, AP reported. Hundreds of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated.

The Chautauqua Institution, located in a rural part of New York, is known for its summertime lecture series. Mr Rushdie has spoken there before.

The area sheriff’s office told news agency AFP that “we can confirm there was a stabbing,” without giving further details on his condition or the attacker. Social media posts showed people rushing to his aid on stage at Chautauqua Institution, about 90 km from the city of New York.

Videos from the area showed Mr Rushdie being taken to hospital in a medical helicopter.

A British citizen of Indian origin, Mr Rushdie has lived in the US for the past 20 years.

Delhi-based British writer William Dalrymple was among the first to react to the attack.

“A terrible day for literature, for freedom of speech and for authors everywhere. Poor poor Salman: I pray he’s not hurt and recovers quickly,” he tweeted.

The 75-year-old author’s writings have in the past led to threats.

Mr Rushdie faced threats particularly in the late 1980s over his book, The Satanic Verses, which is banned in Iran since 1988 as it is alleged to be blasphemous towards Islam. There was also a reward out on his head by the Iranian top leader, though by 1998 the Iranian government said it wasn’t seeking to enforce that ‘fatwa’ or edict. It wasn’t clear if the attack is linked to that.

(Agencies; Picture Courtesy: AFP)

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