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Home / News / World /  Salman Rushdie latest news: Eye witnesses recall thinking the act was a ‘stunt'
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Novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa ordered his killing for his book "The Satanic Verses', was stabbed on Friday while he was about to deliver a lecture in the tranquil town of Chautauqua. 

Latest news of Salman Rushdie's condition states that he has been put on ventilation after he was taken into surgery last night. Reports have further stated that he could lose an eye.  

Rushdie was due to discuss the United States as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile at the lecture organised at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Latest news says that Rushdie was stabbed in his neck and his torso and that his liver was also damaged. 

AP reported that Andrew Wylie, Salman Rushdie's agent, said the writer was on a ventilator Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and an eye he was likely to lose.

Eye witnesses recalled the horrifying incident, that initially looked like a ‘stunt’. Several videos had also emerged of the attack that took place at the institution.

Read below for some eye witnesses' account

Rabbi Charles Savenor was among the roughly 2,500 people in the audience. Amid gasps, spectators were ushered out of the outdoor amphitheater.

The assailant ran onto the 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," Savenor said. He said the attack lasted about 20 seconds.

Another spectator, Kathleen James, said the attacker was dressed in black, with a black mask.

“We thought perhaps it was part of a stunt to show that there’s still a lot of controversy around this author. But it became evident in a few seconds" that it wasn’t, she said.

An AP reporter who witnessed the incident at the Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was about to give a lecture said that the attacker, later identified as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, confronted the author and started to ‘stab or punch him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced’. Following this Rushdie fell to the ground.

According to the report, Dr. Martin Haskell, a physician who was at the spot and among the first few who ran to Rushdie's aid had mentioned that Rushdie’s wounds as “serious but recoverable."

 

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