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Salman Rushdie has been taken off the ventilator and is able to talk, his book agent Andrew Wylie confirmed the news, a day after the author was stabbed at a literary event in New York state.

Rushdie remained hospitalized with serious injuries, but fellow author Aatish Taseer tweeted in the evening that he was “off the ventilator and talking (and joking)." 

Wylie confirmed the information without offering further details.

The British author, who spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders ordered his killing, underwent emergency surgery and was placed on a ventilator after Friday's assault. The 24-year-old Hadi Matar, rushed the stage where Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture and stabbed him in the neck and abdomen.

Rushdie, 75, suffered a damaged liver and severed nerves in an arm and an eye, Wylie said Friday evening. He was likely to lose the injured eye.

Also Read: All you need to know about Salman Rushdie's life and works

Earlier, Hadi Matar who was charged with attempted murder and assault for attacking author Salman Rushdie had pleaded not guilty in the New York court. Matar was brought before a court on charges of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree and was remanded without bail at Chautauqua County Jail.

The prosecutor had called the incident a “preplanned" crime.

An attorney for Hadi Matar entered the plea on his behalf during an arraignment in western New York. The suspect appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask, with his hands cuffed in front of him.

A judge ordered him held without bail after District Attorney Jason Schmidt told her Matar, 24, took steps to purposely put himself in position to harm Rushdie, getting an advance pass to the event where the author was speaking and arriving a day early bearing a fake ID.

“This was a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack on Mr. Rushdie," Schmidt said.

Public defender Nathaniel Barone complained that authorities had taken too long to get Matar in front of a judge while leaving him “hooked up to a bench at the state police barracks."

“He has that constitutional right of presumed innocence," Barone added.

Rushdie, a native of India who has since lived in Britain and the US, is known for his surreal and satirical prose style, beginning with his Booker Prize-winning 1981 novel “Midnight’s Children," in which he sharply criticized India’s then-prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

“The Satanic Verses" drew death threats after it was published in 1988, with many Muslims regarding as blasphemy a dream sequence based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, among other objections. Rushdie’s book had already been banned and burned in India, Pakistan and elsewhere before Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.

(With inputs from AP)

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