LONDON - Police in London said the stabbing of the Indian general who led the 1984 raid on Sikhism’s holiest shrine was attempted murder. Lt-Gen Kuldeep Singh Brar was stabbed in the neck by four men with beards on Sunday night. He is out of hospital, reported BBC on Tuesday.
According to the Indian government, the operation left about 400 people, including 87 soldiers, dead. Sikhs groups contest this figure, saying the number of casualties was several times higher.
After spending the night in hospital, Lt-Gen Brar was released on Monday. He sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. He told Indian TV channels that the attack ‘was a pure assassination attempt on me’.
“Four bearded, tough-looking men wearing black jackets and black clothes pounced on me. One of them pushed my wife to the side; she fell down and started screaming for help. Three of them charged at me; one pulled out a dagger or a knife and tried to assassinate me,” Lt-Gen Brar said. “He slashed my neck with the knife, but being an army man, I fought back. I kicked and boxed and warded off the attack, but in the meantime they had already slashed my neck.”
He said it was ‘obvious’ that the attackers were sympathisers of Khalistan, who, he added, had wanted to kill him since Operation Bluestar.
“Even on the internet, there are so many threats being sent to me to say that there have been many attempts on your life but they haven’t succeeded, but the next one will succeed. They’ve been after me,” he said.
The general was attacked on Old Quebec Street in the Oxford Circus area of London on Sunday night by unknown assailants, with no firm evidence so far that his attackers were Sikhs.
A police statement said the four men “are described as wearing dark clothing and long black jackets. They all had long beards”.
No arrests have been made and police are keeping an open mind regarding a possible motive for the attack. They say they want to speak to people who helped the general and his wife at the scene following the attack.
The 1984 raid on Golden Temple was a part of the government’s effort to crush Sikh militancy in India.
Months later, it led to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in what was seen as a revenge attack.
The assassination, in turn, led to widespread riots targeting Sikhs in the capital, Delhi, and elsewhere. Nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed during the riots, most of them in Delhi.