Sikh man jailed over knife attack on former Indian general Kuldip Singh Brar


Mehreen Khan
Friday 21 March 2014 22:28 GMT

A Sikh man has received a lengthy jail sentence after being convicted of slashing a former Indian military lieutenant general in the neck while he was on holiday in London.

Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, 78, who was involved in a military operation against Sikh militants in Amritsar in 1984 that left around 1,000 people dead, was attacked by a gang of four during a visit to London in 2012.

He was walking with his wife on Old Quebec Street near Marble Arch when he was ambushed on September 30 last year.

Lakhbir Singh, 26, was the latest man to be sentenced for the attack and was handed 10 years in prison for grievous bodily harm with intent at Southwark Crown Court today.

The defendant, along with a group of men who have already been convicted for their part in the attack, is believed to have deliberately set out to attack Mr Brar in retaliation for events that occurred in India during his military career.

Three Sikh men and a woman were jailed for their part in the attack in December last year.

Mandeep Singh Sandhu, 35, of Great Barr, Birmingham, and Dilbag Singh, 37, of no fixed abode, were sentenced to 14 years in prison while Harjit Kaur, 39, of Hayes, Middlesex, was jailed for 11 years. Another man - Barjinder Singh Sangha, 34, of Wolverhampton, had previously pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and was sentenced to 10 and a half years.

They were all found guilty of wounding with intent following a trial at Southwark Crown Court in July last year after a jury took just an hour to convict them.

Having become aware of Mr Brar's presence in the UK, the group travelled to London on September 28 and 29 and carried out reconnaissance of the area where he was staying.

On September 30, Harjit Kaur followed the Brars around London and provided the group of men with regular updates on their mobile phones about the couple's movements and locations.

This enabled Lakhbir Singh and the group to intercept and assault the Brars as they were walking along Old Quebec Street, W1, towards their hotel following an evening out.

As the couple passed the group, Sangha grabbed Mr Brar's wife, 68-year-old Meena and held her by the throat against a wall, while the others attacked Mr Brar.

Sangha then joined the others in attacking Mr Brar, who was fighting back in self-defence. Sangha drew a knife and slashed at Mr Brar's neck.

At this point the assailants fled on foot towards Oxford Street, leaving Mr Brar lying on the ground seriously injured.

Police and paramedics attended the scene and Mr Brar was taken to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, where he received treatment for a deep cut across his throat that ran from just below his left ear and finished below, and to the right of his adam's apple and a second deep cut that ran approximately two to three inches from his left ear across his cheek.

Lakhbir Singh handed himself into a local police station in Ascoli, Italy and was arrested on Wednesday February 19, 2014 by Italian authorities in connection with the attack.

Commander Duncan Ball, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command said: "The conviction of Lakhbir Singh now means that all those directly involved in the attempt to assassinate General Brar have been brought to justice.

"We are pleased that today's sentencing reflects the seriousness of this pre-planned and organised attack."

During the investigation a total of 15 people - 13 men and two women - were arrested at locations in London and the West Midlands.

Lt Gen Brar had been in the Indian Army for 40 years rising to the rank of lieutenant general and is well-known for his role in Operation Blue Star, which involved attacking the Golden Temple which is sacred to Sikhs.

Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and the chief of the Indian army general Arun Vaidya were among several people assassinated in the aftermath of the operation.

In February, an investigation by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood found there was "absolutely no evidence" of UK government involvement in the raid on the Golden Temple complex 30 years ago.

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