Assassin’s target asks Sikh separatists in Canada to bury the past

Published: October 14, 2012

Retired Indian Lieutenant General Kuldip Singh Brar, shown after a recent attempt on his life, is concerned that a new generation of Sikh militants in Canada is gaining strength. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)

 By Gurpreet Singh 

The former Indian Army Lt. General, K.S. Brar has urged Sikh separatists in Canada, U.S. and U.K. to bury the past.

Brar, who was recently attacked in London, told Radio India that he suspects Sikh separatists seeking Khalistan to be involved behind the assault. Brar received an injury in the neck after he was stabbed by four assailants. His wife was also pushed by those involved.  Two suspects have been charged so far.

 Brar was instrumental in the controversial Operation Bluestar, a military assault that was launched to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple Complex, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in Amritsar, India in 1984. The operation had left many dead, including civilians. Many buildings in the shrine were damaged.  This had infuriated the Sikhs across the world sparking angry protests in Canada.

Brar said that those who attacked him ranged in the age group of early 30s.

“Although I have been receiving threats for years, I never anticipated this kind of attack,” Brar said during a live radio interview from India this morning.

Brar believes that a new generation of militants active in Canada and elsewhere is gaining strength. 

“They are raising funds to revive militancy,” he said. “I urge them to bury the ugly past and look forward for a better future.”

He acknowledged that several civilians may have also died during the operation, but it had become unavoidable due to a foreign threat to the national integration of India. He said that had the police acted against the militants holed up inside the temple before, the operation may not have been needed.  He insisted that the army actually cleared the Golden Temple complex of the insurgents and ammunition stockpiled inside a place of worship.  It was the militants,  who desecrated the temple, he said.

“We tried our best to avoid damage to the shrine, but we had our own complusions.”

He also admitted that being a Sikh himself he was disturbed while conducting the operation and had given an opportunity to the Sikh soldiers to quit if they found it difficult to participate in the mission. Vancouver Sikhs are hoping a shrine being built in India’s Golden Temple will maintain its intended purpose of commemorating the defenders and innocent killed during the army’s 1984 Operation Blue Star.

 “We were very supportive of this in the first place,” said Canadian Sikh Coalition spokesman, Moninder Singh.

 According to Singh, the government granted the building of the shrine over a year and a half ago, with the intention of honouring the thousands of Sikhs killed across India in the army operation, which attacked Sikhs worshiping inside the Golden Temple and many innocent civilians.

 Singh refers to it as a “state sponsored genocide.”

 “The rest of the Sikhs that lived across India really had nothing to do with it and they were the ones eventually caught in that cross fire,” he said. “So it was supposed to be just for them.”

 But now “mixed things” are being heard about the shrine’s purpose.

 According to the Times of India,  Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said it would be a simple Gurdwara (sikh shrine) and nothing else.

 “We’re not 100 per cent sure what’s true right now,” said Singh. “Initially reports were that this shrine was to be dedicated to the defenders and innocent who lost their lives there and specifically not for the invaders and not for any Indian army,” which is what the CSC supports.

 “Now the opposite is being said by the Sikh bodies themselves – that the shrine is just a temple made in memory of that whole event.”

 According to Singh, those building the shrine, the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), took on the project expecting it to be in the memory of militants and devotees killed.

 If the intention has in fact changed, Singh speculates it was an election ploy to gain more supporters and now the political party is trying to “tone it down.”

 “(But) the change hasn’t been confirmed any which way,” he said, adding that “only time will tell.”

 Head priest at the Ross St. Temple, Harminder Singh, believed the original intention was still in place.

 “(It should be) dedicated to those who lost their lives … who came for devotion,” he told Vancouverdesi.com. “If the community is going to build a memorial in their memory that should be appreciated.”

 Harminder said if the political party wants to build a shrine for everyone involved in the event – including the army – a separate memorial should be built.





ed says:

not all sikhs subscribe to the radicalism – but this country certainly tends to be ahaven for the activity – at least it seems that way

Chung says:

So glad to see the Sikh religion is a peaceful loving one with peaceful loving people.

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