(TELEGRAPH) — Sir Salman Rushdie has announced his withdrawal from a leading Indian literature festival after officials warned professional assassins were on their way to kill him.

He had been due to appear at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Rajasthan, Western India, along with leading authors and playwrights Tom Stoppard, Sir David Hare, Annie Proulx and Michael Ondaatje, despite threats of protests from Islamic fundamentalists.

Leaders of the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary, one of the most influential in the world, had earlier called for Sir Salman to be barred from India to stop him in appearing at the festival in protest over his controversial novel The Satanic Verses.

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