Salman Rushdie: Mamata Banerjee 'blocked' visit to Calcutta

Sir Salman Rushdie at a function to promote Midnight's Children in Mumbai on 29 January 2013 The film Midnight's Children - based on Sir Salman's novel of the same name - opens in India on Friday

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Author Sir Salman Rushdie has accused the chief minister of India's West Bengal state of stopping his visit to Calcutta earlier this week.

"The simple fact is the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered the police to block my arrival," he tweeted.

Sir Salman was due to promote the Midnight's Children film in the city.

The UK-based author is considered a controversial figure in India - where his 1988 book The Satanic Verses remains banned.

Sir Salman was scheduled to attend a literary event at a book fair alongside director Deepa Mehta and actor Rahul Bose.

"The day before I was due to travel to Calcutta we were informed that the Calcutta police would refuse to allow me to enter the city," he said in a statement.

"If I flew there, I was told, I would be put on the next plane back. I was also told that this was at the request of the chief minister."

Last year Sir Salman withdrew from the Jaipur Literature Festival after reports of a death threat.

He was also forced to abandon plans to address the gathering by a video link after protesters threatened to march on the venue.

The film Midnight's Children - based on Sir Salman's novel of the same name - opens in India on Friday.

In February author Taslima Nasreen faced similar protests in Calcutta when the launch of her latest memoir at the city's book fair was cancelled.

Ms Nasreen was not at the event, but in a tweet blamed "religious fanatics" for opposing the launch.

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