Kuldeep Brar was followed before knife attack in London

London, July 17 (IANS) Lt Gen (retd.) Kuldeep Singh Brar, who led Operation Blue Star against Sikh militants holed up inside the Golden Temple in 1984, was followed by four Sikh separatists and his throat was slashed with a knife in London's West End last year, a court was told.

Brar, 78, was ambushed Sep. 30 by a gang of four men as he walked with Meena, his wife of 28 years, in Old Quebec Street, near Marble Arch, the Southwark Crown Court was told. He needed surgery after the attack.

Mandeep Singh Sandhu, 34, from Birmingham and Dilbag Singh, 36, from London have denied wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Harjit Kaur, 38, of west London, also denied the charge.

A fourth person, Barjinder Singh Sangha, 33, of Wolverhampton, previously pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. A fourth man is still at large, the court heard.

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow told the jury at Southwark Crown Court: "Mr Brar is now retired but during his career as a general in the Indian Army oversaw a number of military operations which have made him a target for Sikh extremist groups.

"It is the Crown's case they deliberately set out to attack General Brar, a stranger they had never met, in revenge for his actions during his military career.

"This was no random attack. This was a highly premeditated assault by people who thought about what they were doing and planned it."

"Kuldip Brar was slashed right across the neck with a knife. He sustained very deep cuts to his face and neck," said prosecutor Annabel Darlow. She added: "Each took part in an enterprise to cause Kuldip Brar serious harm", The Independent reported.

And Darlow said: "The four (men) acted in a group, deterring anyone else from becoming involved and going to General Brar's aid and sheltering the knifeman from view. Harjit Kaur too played a crucial role silently, unobtrusively following the Brars."

Lt Gen Brar was on a holiday in London with his wife Meena and the pair were walking back to the Mostyn Hotel in Bryanston Street when he was targeted.

During Operation Blue Star, June 5, 1984, troops entered the Golden Temple premises in Amritsar to flush out Sikh militants led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.

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.

On the night of the attack Kaur tailed the Indian general and his wife, following them into a casino and then a restaurant. She also got onto a bus with the couple.

Darlow said: "She played a crucial role, silently and unobtrusively following this couple who were unaware they were being followed by a woman who was relaying information to four men that were bent on attacking Brar."

Giving evidence via videolink from India this afternoon, Brar said that one website declared him the "number one enemy of the Sikhs". Another threat he said he received read: "There have been seven attempts on his life which have not succeeded, but the eighth one will," the British daily reported.

--Indo-Asian News service

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