Questions building of monument inside Golden Temple for militants slain in Operation Blue Star
Lt. General (retired) K.S. Brar, who escaped an assassination attempt in central London on Sunday night, said here on Wednesday that the Ministry of Home Affairs was “irresponsible” in its assessment of providing security.
Appreciating the concern expressed by top military officers and the provision of security soon after the attack, Gen. Brar, who has been on the hit-list of Khalistani elements for leading Operation Blue Star to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984, said: “The Ministry of Home Affairs may have its own views on all this as they keep on saying Gen. Brar did not inform us. They [say] they only provided security when there is a need. They [feel] there is no need for this security. I think they are so irresponsible. It’s unfortunate. I had informed the Army authorities. It is for them to go through the top Army channels and then either go to the Home or Defence or External Affairs Ministry. It’s no concern of mine.”
‘I am no prisoner’
“When I go abroad, it is fine whether they provide me security or not. That does not stop me from visiting my family and my friends and from having a holiday. I am not a prisoner,” he told reporters at his residence.
Gen. Brar and his wife Meena arrived at the Mumbai airport in the morning cutting short their holiday in London by two days. Ms. Brar said they were happy to be back home. She said there was no need for added security.
“The threat was always there, will always be there. So it does not matter. We thank everyone for their concern,” she said on arrival at the airport.
“We took an earlier flight. The London police, Scotland Yard, the Indian High Commission were all responsive. The military attaché was with me in the hospital, the Indian High Commissioner dropped in to see me. I was escorted right up to the airport and even now in India there was a lot of security for me. All the top military officials have been calling me up to enquire about my condition,” Gen. Brar said.
‘Kill Brar’ clubs
“On Facebook, they have opened ‘Hate Brar’ and ‘Kill Brar’ clubs. They are sending messages to each other that we need to kill him. If you Google my name, you will see the number of threats that are coming to me. This is something which I have to live with. I can’t afford to be frightened. I can’t go into a shell. I have to take care of myself. At the same time, I have to express my views strongly and forcefully on these matters particularly where national security and unity are concerned,” he said.
“I will cut down my movements and I will be a little more careful and alert. But you don’t know from where they will come,” he said.
Criticising the building of a monument inside the Golden Temple in the name of those who died in Operation Blue Star, he said: “Are they martyrs? I call them murderers, criminals, terrorists. They are not martyrs and you are honouring them, their families. The top politicians of the Akali Dal, the Chief Minister are attending these functions. They are not stopping it. The Centre says it cannot intervene because this is a State subject. What State subject? If it affects national security and unity, then State subject is not a State subject. The Centre has to step in and stop it. Otherwise, we are going back to the early 1980s.”
On the other hand, no monuments were being built for soldiers and Army personnel going beyond their call of duty to protect national integrity and sovereignty, he felt.
He said the Centre should urge U.K. authorities to curb pro-Khalistan activities.
“Every year on June 6, on the anniversary of Blue Star they have processions, demonstrations in various parts of London. They come out with placards; they demand Khalistan and pledge to kill me. This happens every year. So they are very active there. They are the ones who provide the support, the money to the people here in India. Our government should be able to have the U.K. government stop all this nonsense.”
“First Bhindranwale [Sikh militant leader] was propped up, then he reached a point of no return. We could not stop him. Now these pro-Khalistanis want to revive terrorism. There will be a stage where you won’t be able to stop them. And we will go back to the 1980 era where terrorism was at its peak. It’s very unfortunate,” he said.
Gen. Brar did not comment on the need for an internal inquiry about the possible leak of his whereabouts in London. He said the government was responsible enough to take a decision on security matters in the light of the attack.
On the removal of his security cover during the National Democratic Alliance regime, he said: “At one stage, they had taken off the security cover. The Intelligence reviews take place from time to time… depends on who carries out these reviews. Upon the insistence by the Defence Ministry, the security was given back. Generally the politicians get security. Don’t think anyone bothers about the Army.”
Speaking of his assailants, he said: “They were tall, strong-built people. They were brown complexioned like us, they had beards. Some were wearing black clothes, jackets. Although one can’t say they were definitely pro-Khalistanis.”