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Rushdie threatens to sue his former bodyguard

india Updated: Aug 02, 2008 18:52 IST
Salaman Rushdie

Celebrated Indian-origin author Salaman Rushdie has threatened to sue a former bodyguard for claiming in his forthcoming book that he was mean and extremely unpleasant towards policemen protecting him from assassins following the Iranian fatwa on his life in 1989.

Reacting to the claims of the Special Branch officer Ron Evans, Rushdie said that the author was "portraying me as mean, nasty, tight-fisted, arrogant and extremely unpleasant".

"In my humble opinion I am none of those things," Rushdie, who last month won the 'Best of the Booker' award told the Guardian.

In his book, Evans claimed that Rushdie was even imprisoned by his bodyguards who "got so fed up with his attitude that they locked him in a cupboard under the stairs and all went to the local pub for a pint or two.

"When they were suitably refreshed they came back and let him out."

Rushdie was forced to stay in hiding for nine years after Iranian hardline religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa on his life in February 1989, claiming his novel 'The Satanic Verses' was blasphemous.

According to the book titled 'On Her Majesty's Service', which is due to be published next week, the police nicknamed the author 'Scruffy' because of his unkempt appearance.

In the book, to be printed by John Blame Publishing Ltd, Evans said when officers asked to drink some bottles of red wine they had found Rushdie wanted to charge them 45 pounds each.

The book also alleged that when officers stayed overnight in his home, he billed the Metropolitan police for rent of "at least forty quid a night for special branch officers to risk their lives to stop him being taken out by followers of the fatwa".