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Mamata blocked my visit, police incited protests: Rushdie

Kolkata, Feb 1 (PTI): Controversial author Salman Rushdie said on Friday that he was forced to cancel his trip to Kolkata as he was told that police would bundle him out on the next flight on instructions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The simple fact is that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival,” tweeted the British Indian novelist, who was forced to cancel his trip to the metropolis on Wednesday to promote Deepa Mehta's film 'Midnight's Children' based on his novel.

“I did not get “friendly advice” to stay away from Kolkata. I was told the police would put me on next plane out... The police gave my full itinerary to the press and called Muslim leaders, clearly inciting protests,” he claimed on the micro-blogging site.

The Booker Prize winning author also lashed out at the organisers of the Kolkata Literary Meet (KLM) who had claimed that they had not invited Rushdie.

“The lit meet organisers are lying when they say I wasn't invited. I have emails and plane tkt (tickets) sent by them to prove it,” the 65-year-old author said.

During a session of KLM titled 'Midnight Magic', Deepa Mehta, her producer husband David Hamilton and actor Rahul Bose were to discuss the challenge of transferring the ‘Midnight’s Children’ from page to reel.

Rushdie, who has not only written the screenplay but has also rendered a voice over in the film, was to be a 'surprise guest' at the KLM, Mehta had said.

“Rushdie) was going to be a surprise guest... Lit meet paid 4 his tkt (Mumbai-Kolkata flight ticket)(sic),” she tweeted Thursday.

Only Bose could make it to the 'Midnight Magic' while Mehta and Hamilton stayed back in Mumbai along with Rushdie.

Rushdie travelled to Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai without any problem before he was to come to Kolkata promote the film stars Rahul Bose, Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Anupan Kher, Soha Ali Khan and Sarita Choudhury.