MUMBAI, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- British author Salman Rushdie says he won't speak at India's Jaipur literature festival as planned because he has been threatened and fears for his life.
"I have now been informed by intelligence sources in Maharashtra and Rajasthan that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to 'eliminate' me," the BBC quoted Rushdie as saying in a statement read at the festival, which began Friday.
"While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances; irresponsible to my family, to the festival audience and to my fellow writers," he said. "I will therefore not travel to Jaipur as planned."
Rushdie, who was born in India but lived in the United Kingdom most of his life, has been a target for Muslim extremists since he published his 1988 book "The Satanic Verses," which many see as blasphemous.