Sikh extremists convicted of London attack that nearly killed retired Indian Army general

 

Crime Correspondent

Three Sikh extremists were found guilty today of a knife attack in London that nearly killed the retired senior Indian army general who led a military operation against armed separatists holding out in the Golden Temple of Amritsar 29 years ago.

Lt Gen Kuldip Singh Brar, 78, was held down and his throat slashed in a carefully-planned attack by four men while he was walking with his wife in London's West End during an annual holiday to Britain. The retired officer has lived under tight security for nearly three decades after leading the controversial attack on the holiest Sikh shrine targeting militants seeking to separate from Indian rule and establish an independent state of Khalistan.

The operation, which left at least 500 people dead, led to the revenge assassinations of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, the head of the Indian army and anti-Sikh riots in that left thousands of people dead. It also resulted in death threats against Lt Gen Brar, who currently lives in a secure compound in Mumbai and receives protection whenever he leaves his home. He gave evidence in the trial via videolink from India.

Lt Gen Brar had no security in London and was attacked by four men at the end of a three-day operation planned from a Sikh temple in west London. The couple were tracked by a fifth female member of the group who followed them on a bus and gave regular updates to the attackers about where the couple could be found during the evening of September 30 last year.

His wife, Meena, was grabbed by the neck and shoved against a wall during the attack while Lt Gen Brar was held down by his attackers while another dealt a 12cm slash to his neck and face.

Two of the attackers, Mandeep Sandhu, 34, of Birmingham; and Dilbag Singh, 37, of London, were found guilty of grievous bodily harm at Southwark Crown Court. Harjit Kaur, 34, also of London, who tracked the couple, was found guilty. A fourth person, Barjinder Sangha, pleaded guilty before the trial. Another man has yet to be caught.

When Sangha was arrested, he told police: "I knew you were coming, it's all right. I am proud of what I have done. He killed children, lots of people in the Golden Temple in India."

Anti-terrorism officers said the attack appeared to be a one-off rather than a sign of a rise in violence by Sikh separatists that reached its height in the 1980s. Khalistan separatists were blamed for the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight in 1985 over the Atlantic that left 329 people, mainly Canadians, dead.

Commander Richard Walton, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "This was a vicious politically-motivated attack that very nearly killed Lieutenant-General Brar. It was pre-planned and organised, but thankfully unsuccessful. General Brar was brave throughout the attack and again during the court case. We are pleased that justice has been done."

The four are due to be sentenced on September 19.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'