Salman Rushdie on ventilator, may lose an eye, liver damaged
Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie has been put on a ventilator in a critical condition after he was stabbed at an event in the New York state. "The news is not good," his book agent Andrew Wylie stated in a statement as the author is unable to speak. He also mentioned that the author may lose an eye owing to nerve damage.
- To recall, the Indian-born author sparked a major controversy with his fourth book, The Satanic Verses, released in 1988.
- Rushdie has also faced death threats, which forced him to go into hiding.
- Some Muslims were outraged by his novel's theme. They regarded it as blasphemous, which led to its ban in some countries.
- Anti-Rushdie riots in India and Iran also claimed several lives.
"Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was damaged," said Wylie. Meanwhile, officials said Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen and was flown to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, via helicopter. The interviewer who was on stage with him also sustained a minor head injury and was shifted to a nearby hospital.
According to the New York State Police, the attacker has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, after being arrested at the location. However, they stated that the motive behind the attack was unknown at the time. The police said the attacker went onto the platform and assaulted Rushdie and an interviewer at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
Even after being restrained, the assailant continued to assault Rushdie, onlookers told The New York Times. "It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing," said Linda Abrams of Buffalo city. "He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast," she added. Another onlooker, Rita Landman, said that Rushdie appeared to be alive immediately after the attack.
"Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend," tweeted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that Rushdie "embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism." Macron said Rushdie was the victim "of a cowardly attack by the forces of hatred and barbarism."
"We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time," Rushdie's publishers at Penguin Random House said in a statement issued late Friday.
Neil Gaiman, an English writer and graphic novelist, said he was "shocked and distressed" by the attack on his friend and fellow writer. "He's a good man and a brilliant one and I hope he's okay," Gaiman wrote on Twitter. Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who is living in exile, said she now feared for her own safety in the wake of Rushdie's attack.