Renowned author Salman Rushdie, who faced death threats over his book 'The Satanic Verses', was "stabbed" on stage in Western New York state.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the author is alive and has been transported to a local hospital. "He is alive and has been transported, airlifted, to safety… The event moderator was attacked as well; he's getting the care he needs at a local hospital," she said.
The New York State Police said in a statement that a male suspect ran up onto the stage prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua and attacked Rushdie.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – Salman Rushdie, 75, is on a ventilator and unable to speak following hours of surgery after the novelist was stabbed onstage at a lecture in New York state https://t.co/JZdBfGQVWB pic.twitter.com/Z2nnrpIrrU
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 13, 2022
It said the author suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. A suspect has been taken into custody.
The interviewer with Rushdie was also attacked during the incident and he suffered a minor head injury, the police said.
"State Police are investigating an attack on author Salman Rushdie prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY," the statement said.
"On August 12, 2022, at about 11 am, a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer. Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck, and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital. His condition is not yet known. The interviewer suffered a minor head injury. A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene," it added.
CNN citing a Chautauqua spokesperson said medical staff and police were called to the amphitheatre.
The seventy-five-year-old author hogged the limelight with his novel 'Midnight's Children' in 1981. The India-born author won Booker Prize for the novel which was also adapted for the stage.
But his 1988 book 'The Satanic Verses' led to a fatwa, a religious decree, by the then Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The threat forced him into hiding for several years.
Rushdie's books have been translated into several languages.
PEN International, a worldwide association of writers, condemned the attack on Rushdie.
"We are deeply concerned by the news that former PEN America President, @SalmanRushdie, was attacked today just before giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. We condemn the attack and wish him a fast recovery," PEN International tweeted.
American author Stephen King said, "I hope Salman Rushdie is okay."
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said they can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil.
"PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie, who was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York. We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil," Nossel said.