NEW DELHI, Oct 14, Reuter: Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said on Friday there was no chance of lifting the ban on bestselling author Salman Rushdie’s latest novel, United News of India said

The Bombay-born author’s Satanic verses, shortlisted for Britain’s respected booker literary prize was banned last week after Moslem leaders and opposition politicians complained it was offensive to Islam.

Rushdie, who lives in London, protested against the ban in an open letter of Gandhi published widely in the Indian press.

The Prime Minister told reporters he would not respond to the letter and would not lift the ban, the News Agency said. He added he had not read the book.

In his letter, Rushdie said: “From where I sit, Mr. Gandhi, it looks very much as if your government has become unable or unwilling to resist pressure from more or less any extremist religious grouping.”

India’s Islamic neighbor, Pakistan, has also banned the book.

Rushdie, who specialized in Islamic studies at Cambridge University, won the Booker prize for his earlier novel, Midnight’s Children, which focused on India’s Independence from Britain in 1947.

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Article extracted from this publication >> October 21, 1988