New Delhi: Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie was on a ventilator fighting for his life on Saturday.

Rushdie’s literary agent said, “The news is not good.”

75-year-old Rushdie, who has a multimillion-dollar bounty, was stabbed several times while he was about to speak at a discussion on the US as “a home for freedom and creative expression”.

He was helicoptered from the venue in western New York State to a hospital in neighbouring Pennsylvania on Friday.

“Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” agent, Andrew Wylie, said in a statement.

New York State Police said that Hadi Matar, 24, who was arrested at the site of the stabbing is to be produced in court on Saturday to face charges of attempted murder and Assault 2nd degree.

A state police trooper, who was at the event with an explosive detection dog, arrested the assailant, police said.

The other speaker at the event Ralph Henry Reese, 73 suffered a minor head injury, according to police.

The incident took place at Chautauqua Institution, an education and spirituality centre about 500 km from New York City.

He was to participate in a “discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression”, according to the organisation’s website.

Rushdie drew the fury of many Muslims who considered his 1988 novel, “Satanic Verses”, blasphemous.

Rushdie is under a fatwa issued by the late Ayatolla Khomeini when he was Iran’s Supreme Leader in 1989 and Iranian organisations have put a reward of over $3 million for killing him.

Al Qaeda also put him on its hit list of literary and media figures.

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