'The Assailant’s Arm Went Up...’: Eyewitness Recounts Attack on Salman Rushdie

British author Salman Rushdie was attacked on 12 August. Here is how an eyewitness described the incident.

2 min read
Edited By :Karan Mahadik

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

“Crazy! Surreal! There was shock and horror and people didn’t know what to make of it,” said Rabbi Charles-E-Savenor, one of the witnesses of the gruesome attack on the controversial author, Salman Rushdie.

The Indian-origin British author, who wrote the controversial book The Satanic Verses, was attacked ahead of a lecture in western New York on Friday, 12 August.

A man leapt onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and stabbed Rushdie during the introduction, following which the suspect was taken into custody. Besides Rushdie, the moderator of the event was also attacked and had to be rushed to a hospital. According to Associated Press, the author is alive and undergoing treatment.

Here is how Rabbi Charles-E-Savenor described the incident:


'Someone Jumped on the Stage'

“After being welcomed with applause, they (Salman Rushdie and the moderator) made their way to the two chairs on the stage and a few seconds later, someone jumped on the stage and began pounding Mr Rushdie. There was just shock and horror. People didn’t know what to make of it. It was crazy. It was so surreal," he said

Savenor described how the assailant’s arm went up and down, how nobody knew what was going on, and that it became clear that Rushdie was being assaulted.

Deeply shaken, Savenor was dismayed by what we saw and an announcement followed asking everyone to evacuate the outdoor amphitheatre quickly and quietly.

“And now it has created a sad conversation around the country and the world. I work for an organisation that trains civic educators and faith-based schools and what happened today was a total violation of everything we stand for. We believe in open dialogue and healthy debate. What (happened) today is the anti-thesis of the best of our ideals in our democracy and every democracy in the world," he added.

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