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Author Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York function, critical

Rushdie was carrying a bounty on his head for writing the book, 'Satanic Verses' (1988), which Islamic extremists alleged was blasphemous to Islam. Iran had offered $3 million in reward for anyone who kills him.

BUFFALO (State of New York), Aug 12: Controversial author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck by an unknown person while he was on stage to deliver a speech at a function at a place 120 km south of Buffalo on Friday morning. Rushdie, who collapsed on the stage, was taken to hospital in a helicopter in a critical condition. The attacker has been detained but no details about him has been revealed.

The incident took place at 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Rushdie was being introduced before he was to speak at the event in New York's Chautauqua county.

India-born British-American novelist Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, 75, was hardly seen in public for a long time since Islamic fundamentalists had ordered his execution for writing a book called 'The Satanic Verses' (1988), which they alleged was blasphemous to Islam. Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa for Rushdie’s death. Iran had also offered $3 million in reward for anyone for killing Rushdie.

Rabbi Charles Savenor, who was in the audience, told AP: "This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr Rushdie. At first you're like, ‘What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten (appeared to be)."

A British citizen of Indian origin, Rushdie lived in the US for the past 20 years and in the UK. He began writing in 1975, starting with a novel. He won the Booker Prize for his seminal work 'Midnight's Children' (1981), about India. In 2012 he wrote 'Joseph Anton', while in hiding.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his services to literature.

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