London: Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, who led Operation Blue Star against Sikh militants holed up inside the Golden Temple in 1984, was stabbed and injured in London.
General Brar and his wife were returning from dinner at London's Piccadilly Circus when four men assaulted him with a knife and pushed his wife to the ground.
Speaking to NDTV, General Brar described the attack saying the men had intended to assassinate him. "Suddenly 4 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 and tried to assassinate me. 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.
General Brar's wife says she began crying for help after which a few men from the vicinity came and that scared the men off. "I was standing by watching and called for help. The ambulance was there within minutes and we rushed him to hospital," she said.
In New York, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said that the general should have informed the Indian High Commission so that security could have organised for him. General Brar was in London on a private visit.
The retired army officer remains on the hit-list of many Sikh militant groups and usually stays in a high-security compound in the cantonment area in Mumbai. He is a Z-category protectee.
General Brar is a decorated soldier who saw action in the 1971 war with Pakistan. He was among the first to enter Dhaka to force the Pakistani army into surrender.
On June 5, 1984, troops including many Sikh soldiers entered the Golden Temple premises in Amritsar to flush out militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale demanding a separate state for Sikhs called Khalistan. Several soldiers were killed in firing by the terrorists. But General Brar's troops were successful and Bhindranwale was killed.
Operation Blue Star upset many Sikhs. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards a few months after Operation Blue Star. This was followed by several years of terrorism that affected Punjab.
In the 1990s, General Brar wrote a book called Operation Blue Star: The True Story.