Lieutenant General Bulbul Brar had commanded the troops that had flushed out armed terrorists and rebels from the Golden Temple. Khalistani terrorists have been after his blood but the army provided him security in India. When abroad he was a target.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL K.S. Brar and his wife were in Central London preparing to go out of the hotel to meet a commitment. Out of the blue came four bearded men and stabbed him in the neck. The frightened wife raised an alarm and the men vanished into thin air. He was rushed to the nearest hospital for an emergency surgery that was done successfully. When the last reports came in, the 78-year old retired General was critical but there was no threat to his life.
OPERATION BLUE STAR
Way back in 1984 when Operation Blue Star was launched by the Indian Army against the Khalistani terrorists and armed rebels holed up in the Golden Temple
, Amritsar, under the guidance of a retired Major General Shabeg Singh and inspired by the so called Sant Bhindrawale. They were not only armed to teeth but also had stored arms and ammunition, made bunkers of defence and challenged the State. The terrorists had also taken a large number of devotees as hostage inside the various structures of the complex. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
had little option but to deploy the Indian Army to cleanse the Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Saheb of armed terrorists and rebels.
The infantry division deployed to carry out the mandate was commanded by then Major General K.S. Brar, affectionately called Bulbul Brar by friends and colleagues. General A.S.Vaidya, a highly decorated General with combat experience against Pakistan was the Army Chief and Lt General Sundarji, a mastermind of military strategy was the Army Commander of the Western Command. A well thought out plan, keeping in view the religious susceptibilities of the Sikh community, was made and launched. The Army soldiers entered the temple barefoot with rifles in hand but prayers on lips to flush out the well armed terrorist, a renegade retired Major General and a spiritual Guru of a Sikh sect.
Among the moving in troops were Hindus, Sikhs and some belonging to other faiths. Major General Bulbul Brar himself is a Sikh and was commissioned into the Maratha Light Infantry and, therefore, was called a Maratha in the army jargon. At that moment they were just obeying the orders of their superior officers and the Government of India
duly established by law and the Constitution of India.
In the ensuing operations a few buildings including the Akal Takht were destroyed and many men killed on both sides. Later, the Army did have the destroyed buildings repaired and the Golden Temple restored to the original glory. Both Sant Bhindrawale and General Shabeg Singh were killed in the military operations. The Indian Army did a commendable job of restoring the authority of the Republic of India. Of course, a few Sikh soldiers stationed in different parts of the country mutinied but they were disarmed and court martialled.
The rebels among the Sikh community who survived the Operation Blue Star harboured a feeling of hurt psyche and embedded deep in their minds was a strong drive for Revenge against all those who were responsible for launching Operation Blue Star. The core group of rebels had money, men and weapons to carry out revenge killings of both political leaders and army generals who were actively involved with the happenings in June 1984 in the Harmandir Saheb.
Of course, many army officers had retired in due course of time and they lost the Z plus security that they had enjoyed in the service. It was a mistake because any loss of life of retired generals at the hands of the Khalistani terrorists meant lowering of morale of the serving soldiers. However, the babus in the Ministry of Defence who tinker with the administration affecting morale of rank and file do not understand this because they never came under hostile fire and underwent no training in man management. Pen pushing and raising unnecessary queries on files were their speciality. In the bargain it was the Republic of India that suffered.
Indira Gandhi herself became a casualty to Operation Revenge of terrorists. While wearing secularism on sleeves, two security guards of hers who were Sikhs and had regular meetings with diehard rebels and terrorists at their residence were deployed at crucial points in her bungalow. They took AMRIT as a proof of their mission to kill Indira Gandhi, a serving Prime Minister. The Intelligence Services kept on sleeping and the Prime Minister was killed in her own bungalow by her own Sikh security guards. The rest is history.
The Sikh terrorists chose soft targets to make a kill and get international publicity. General Arunkumar Shridhar Vaidya , on retirement, had settled in Pune. Just an old Head Constable who had not fired a weapon for a decade was provided as security for General Vaidya. When the Khalistani terrorists struck after a good survey of the scene, the said policeman could not draw his pistol out of the holster until General Vaidya was showered with bullets fired from an automatic modern firearm. Indeed it was a great blow to the morale of officers and men of the Indian Army. But who cares?
General Sundarji was under threat of the Khalistanis. Now Army chose to provide security to its general and successfully protected him until he breathed his last in the natural way.
Promoted to the rank of a Lieutenant General, Bulbul Brar kept on discharging his duties as faithfully and fearlessly as a good general of the Indian Army would do. He retired on the due date but security continued to be provided to him within the country wherever he went. His family was also protected by the Army. Further, Bulbul Brar, being a Maratha soldier to his fingertips, was inspired by the great national hero, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Like always he took initiative and completed the plan of action even in the retired life.
Indeed there was a gap in the security arrangements. The same high profile security should have been provided to him whether he was in Bharat or had gone abroad. Unfortunately it was not done. The terrorists took advantage of this. As he and his wife were leaving the hotel in central London, where he was on a private visit, came four bearded men who attacked the 78-year old retired General with sharp knives. As stated before, it was an immediate surgery that saved him. Now he has been discharged from the hospital.
The London Police has a great responsibility on hand; to identify the attackers and bring them to trial. We hope that they would succeed and also the Government of India review the security arrangements of Bulbul Brar, a national hero, so that he lives long and inspired the new generation of our compatriots.