We are going back to the Eighties,to Jarnail Singh Bhindrawales time… Its starting all over again, Lt Gen (retd) K S Brar warns.
With little doubt in his mind that the men who stabbed him in London last week were Khalistani activists,the retired Army officer who led Operation Bluestar says: The men who attacked me were in their thirties. They were not even born when Operation Bluestar happened,or maybe they were a few months or two years old. It just shows that the second generation is growing on hatred. In Germany,London,Canada,and Punjab there is a pro-Khalistan movement. Instead of promoting development,educating and creating opportunities,the Punjab government is giving strength to fundamentalism and extremism. What happened in London was just that.
Minutes after doctors had operated on him following the attack,the retired officer says,the Metropolitan London Police told him that muggers in London usually knifed one in the stomach. Brar was struck in the neck,eventually receiving 10 stitches.
He also believes the attack was well-planned. Pointing out that he had given the itinerary of his travel abroad to the Army and Southern Command,Brar shrugs: There is only that much one can do. The cabbie who came to receive us in London was a Sikh. Our name was on the placard at the airport. People know. These days intelligence is fresh and strong.
What Brar remembers most vividly is his wife Meenas loud shrieks for help during the incident that lasted around a minute,and him swinging away at the men. The attackers had forced the 66-year-old Meena against a wall.
Brar,who hasnt been to the Golden Temple since Operation Bluestar in 1984,mentions the hate blogs,hate messages and YouTube videos on the Net tracking his whereabouts. A friend called me from London yesterday speaking of some local underground Punjab channel panelists talking of how I will die of cancer anyway in six months. Of how I will die an ugly death, he says.
On his security cover,Brar says there cannot be anything more secure than Mumbai. They had to wait for me to leave for foreign soil to hatch a plan.
Life after Operation Bluestar hadnt been easy,said the General. I am 78 now. I want to ask everyone to live as brothers and not let religion interfere with politics.
The operation came just six months after they got married,Meena recalls,when she took the call to accompany him to Amritsar. Its tough. It was always tough. That day of the London attack too,she says,she was immediately suspicious when she noticed the men. She had learnt never to let the guard down since 1984 and since several alerts of assassination bids.
We chose Mumbai (to settle down) as it was far away from the north. We knew it as a place where we could enjoy our quiet and also be hectic at the same time. We love our life and we want to live without fear, she says.
While the attack has reinforced their worst fears,it has also made her realise what makes Brar the man he is,says Meena. When I finally met him after surgery,I told him You are a tough guy. I didnt know you had such tough hands. He just smiled.
Brar adds that he knew he wouldnt end this way. They must have thought that the old man will die in a minute… I was not going to let them have their way.