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Author Salman Rushdie severely attacked at event in New York; attacker held

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Author Salman Rushdie severely attacked at event in New York; attacker held
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Author Salman Rushdie is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua. (Photo | AP)

Author Salman Rushdie is reportedly on a ventilator and may lose an eye after he was stabbed on stage in New York state on Friday.

As per latest media reports, the 75-year-old author has suffered severed nerves in an arm, damage to his liver, and could lose an eye. "The news is not good," Andrew Wylie, his agent, wrote in an email. "Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged."

New York state police identified his attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey. "The motive behind the attack remain unclear," officials said.

Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed by Hadi Matar who rushed to the stage and attacked him atleast 10-15 times. Henry Reese, the interviewer, also suffered a head injury in the attack.

Visuals and images circulating on social media showed some people in the audience rushing to the stage and taking the suspect to the ground, before a trooper present at the event arrested him.

A doctor present at the event administered medical care until emergency first responders arrived. Rushdie was then airlifted to the hospital where he underwent an emergency surgery.

The attack occurred as Rushdie was about to give a speech at the Chautauqua Institution near the New York city, which holds arts programs. There were around 2,500 people in the audience, who were evacuated later.

New York governor Kathy Hochul condemned the stabbing and hailed Rushdie as "an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power." "We condemn all violence, and we want people to be able to feel (the) freedom to speak and to write truth," she said.

Rushdie was propelled into the spotlight with his second novel "Midnight's Children" in 1981, which won international praise and prestigious Booker Prize.

A British citizen of Indian origin - living in the US for the past 20 years - Salman Rushdie has faced threats for decades over his 1988 book, The Satanic Verses. The novel was considered by some clerics as disrespectful to the Prophet Mohammed.

A reward was put on his head by Iranian top leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini calling for his assassination. He spent nearly a decade in hiding, moving houses repeatedly and being unable to tell his children where he lived. Mr Rushdie only began to emerge from his life on the run after the Iranian government in 1998 said it won't enforce that 'fatwa' or edict.

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TAGS:Salman Rushdie Newyork 
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