London: Retired Lt General K S Brar, who had led "Operation Blue Star" 28 years ago to flush out pro- Khalistani militants in the Golden Temple, was attacked in central London on Sunday night by four knife-wielding assailants, inflicting injuries on him.

78-year-old Lt Gen Brar, a Z-category protectee, was returning to his hotel from a dinner along with his wife. A television channel quoted her as saying that three bearded men attacked and tried to slash his throat. But she would not jump to the conclusion that they were Sikhs.

He was rushed to a hospital from where he was discharged today after a surgery and his wounds were stitched.

Brar assailants had 'long beards': Police

The identity of the assailants was not known nor was it clear whether the attack had anything to do with his role in the "Operation Blue Star".

Scotland Yard has appealed for information from members of the public on the Sunday night assault on Lt Gen K S Brar, and described the four assailants as wearing dark clothing, long black jackets and having "long beards".
Stating that detectives were keeping an open mind on the motivation behind the attack, the police said in a statement on Monday that they were particularly keen to speak to people who assisted Brar and his wife after the attack on Old Quebec
Street in central London. No arrests had been made until last night, the police said.
"The four men are described as wearing dark clothing and long black jackets. They all had long beards. One of the men is described as younger and slimmer than the other three. They all fled in the direction of Oxford Street," the statement said.
"Detectives are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time or who may have information about the incident. In particular they want to speak to those people who assisted the wife and the victim at the scene following the attack," it added.

Sources said the incident took place at 0100 IST on Old Quebec Street near Hyde Park when Brar was out with his wife. The couple is in London on a private visit. Gen Brar was attended by the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

The Military Attache in the Indian High Commission in London visited the hospital and enquired about the condition of the decorated officer.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is in New York, condemned the attack on Brar.

"The Indian High Commissioner was in Manchester and has rushed back to London after the incident. He had called on Brar who is out of hospital and will be leaving for India on Tuesday," Krishna said.

"We have conveyed our concern and the matter will be taken up with the British government," Krishna said.

Brar had not informed the Indian embassy or the mission and nobody knew that he was in London. Brar was on a private visit and hundreds of such visits take place, he said.

Scotland Yard said that investigations were on but no arrests had been made so far.

A Yard spokesman said: "Officers and LAS attended the scene and discovered a man, aged in his 70s, suffering from an injury believed caused by a knife".

He added, "The man has been taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition, his injuries are not believed to be life threatening".

Krishna had called up the Indian High Commissioner J Bhagwati to know about the condition of Gen Brar, who has been on the hit-list of various extremists organisations after his central role in Operation Blue Star in 1984.

'It was an assassination attempt'

 Lt Gen K S Brar is convinced that it was an attempt to assassinate him by "pro-Khalistan elements" for his role in the 1984 "Operation Bluestar".
"This was a pure assassination attempt on me. Even on 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." Brar told a television channel.

"On 6th of June, which is the anniversary of Bluestar every year, particularly in London, the radical Sikhs come out in procession with banners and make pledges to kill me. So it was a pure assassination attempt," he said.
Brar said it was "obvious" that the assailants were Khalistan sympathisers, who, he added, wanted to kill him since "Operation Bluestar".
Describing the incident, the 78-year-old Brar said he fought with the assailants, with "abnormal strength", and added, "Now when I think back I can't imagine how I fought with those three big guys. But I suppose being a soldier and having been in the army for so many years, one learns to defend oneself".

One of the four assailants, he said, separated his wife from him, while the other three "went for me". His wife fell down when one of the assailants pushed her against the wall, he said.
Everything happened within a couple of minutes, "maybe one minute", he said.
The police, Brar said, had told him that a mobile phone had been recovered from the site of assault, which may lead them to the assailants. The retired Lt General praised the police and hospital authorities who treated him after the assault.

Operation Bluestar

Operation Bluestar was aimed at flushing out Sikh terrorists led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale from the Golden Temple, who was demanding a separate state for Sikhs called Khalistan.
A decorated soldier, Brar saw action in the 1971 war with Pakistan, and was among the first to enter Dhaka when the Indian army forced Pakistani army into surrender.
General A S Vaidya who was the Army Chief in 1984 planned the highly controversial Operation Bluestar. Vaidya was shot dead in Pune in 1986.


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