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Op/Ed – Attack on General Brar: What Were the Real Motives?

Bhai Bittu & Bhai Barapind

The following article was published on  It is being re-published by Sikh24 for the benefit of its readers.

A week ago, both the President and former President of the Sikh political party, Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) were charged with waging war on the State, possession of explosives and sedition. Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind and Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu were originally arrested under preventative measures, but have since seen their charges exacerbated and have been placed in judicial custody for a period of 14 days. The former is a serving member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) – notably the only candidate to successfully defeat a (CM of Punjab) Badal-supported nominee in recent SGPC elections in the Doaba region – whilst under the leadership of Daljit Singh Bittu, the Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) has continued to gain support as a political party.

It is no secret that the arrests have been to the benefit of the Badal-led Punjab Govt. and the wider Sikh hierarchy in Punjab, including the President of the SGPC, Avtar Singh Makkar who upheld that the Police were correct to make the arrests, despite human rights groups and media outlets confirming that no evidence of banned paraphernalia or explosives have been found. But more worryingly, each passing day with the surfacing of new and unrelated revelations, it has begun to appear that there may be a wider plot unfolding to silence any opposition to the status quo of recent years that has seen the Punjab, and Sikh institutions there, denigrated ever closer to oblivion.

John Baird

Almost a month ago now, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made sensational remarks suggesting that extremism and radicalisation was on the rise amidst Sikhs in Canada. His comments were widely rebuked throughout the country, but in the light of recent events, appear to merely be an opening shot across the bow of the Sikh World. Many in the Diaspora have been campaigning for greater transparency within Sikh institutions in the Punjab and have questioned the unhealthy influence of the Badal-led, supposed Sikh political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, over the SGPC specifically. This has not been met with great welcome and clear attempts to marginalise the Sikh voice abroad have been filtering through Punjabi/Sikh media over the past year. Baird’s remarks were a pronounced escalation of this strategy.


General Kuldeep Brar

However, today’s news of the alleged attack on retired Lt. General Kuldip Brar who led the 1984 invasion of Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar, is even more puzzling and timely. Indian media began to report late this afternoon, that Gen. Brar and his wife who are ordinarily under constant protection in Mumbai, were attacked last night in London, where the retired General suffered wounds to his neck. Depending on which Indian media outlet you believe, he was attacked either outside his hotel or on Oxford Street at around 10:30pm, although we ascertained from the Metropolitan Police that the attack took place on Old Quebec Street, a stone’s throw from Marble Arch tube station. The original source issuing the news is the High Commission of India which reports that Brar was in a critical condition in hospital overnight but has now been released and is recovering in private. The Metropolitan Police newswire reported Brar’s wounds as serious but not critical and that he had indeed been released from hospital after an overnight stay. His wife is quoted by Indian media as saying that they were set upon by four individuals whom she cannot identify.

Despite what seems to be an apparent knife attack near the most popular street and area of the capital city, no press statement was issued last night or indeed this morning, but when issued were littered with references to the rise of Sikh extremism. Any native to central London will know that the slightest hint of an incident in Soho or Mayfair results in an instant cordoning-off of the area, which incidentally has one of the highest numbers of surveillance cameras in Western Europe, not to mention pedestrian foot-fall, so one would hope that the Metropolitan Police will have access to sufficient evidence to get to the heart of the matter. At this time, they are reporting no arrests although inquiries continue.

It is remarkable to think that in this day and age, this news story is being published by both the Indian press, the bewildering Sikh TV stations and now the BBC with most of the news article leading on the fact that General Brar has long been a target for ‘Sikh extremists’. It is remarkable of course, unless seen in the wider context of what has been happening in a post-Rajoana World. Clearly the Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal and their sibling forces hell-bent on usurping the Sikh people and vanquishing Guru Nanak’s egalitarian concept of Halemi Raj, have been so stunned by the global support to ‘Pledge Orange’ last Spring that they have moved rapidly to diminish the movement and what they see as the clearest threat to their autonomy over the Punjab and Sikh institutions. Opposition voices are no longer slowly being drowned out, rather they are erratically being routed through a multi-faceted campaign being played out primarily in the media.

My gravest concern however remains for the everyday Sikh people who remain sightless to the situation. What will it take for our people to awake and realise what is being perpetrated against us? Must a well-known Sikh born and raised in the West be killed in dubious circumstances or face false charges before we care? Are the lives of the likes of Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind and Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu not worthy of our time, for us to pause from our daily lives and think seriously and critically about what we as a people are doing? Rallies come and go, protests here then there, and TV shows galore, but all the while we fail to see through the looking glass, where white is black and black is white; all the while we fail to make a change for good, for now and ever more.

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  1. He is a liar… just look at the size of that small cut.. how is it possible that 3 men tried killing him and all they could do was put a small shaving cut on his neck. And then he mentioned about Kirpan.. why the hell would they use a blunt Kirpan when more sophisticated weapons are available. IF they were motivated to kill him that they could track his presence in UK which is not possible under normal circumstances- they would have just killed him. IT is obvious that he is doing Drama… spread absolute lies about Sikhs and relating Kirpan with attacks. I personally think that its a big conspiracy to malign sikhs when Sikhs are getting all the support all over the world after Wisconsin incident.

  2. If Indian Government have to sell their mothers and sisters just to be in power they will not hesitate…Its my plea to all the Sikhs wherever you are lets unite. Indian Government is worried that the day we Sikhs are united for sure Delhi will be off their hands…thats the main reason they are breaking, dividing and ruling on us…We all are the children of the same father who is also the father of all the Sikh warriors…Sri Satguru Gobind Singh….Its up to us know…the question is whether we want to leave like a lion or gider….

  3. Was it really an assassination attempt or a drama to discredit the Sikh community in western countries ? I can’t believe that four persons came to assassinate Gen. Brar with one knief and then ran away quickly after very minor injuries. Gen. Brar 75 year old couldn’t have fought and scare away four persons had they been real assassians. The whole thing seems to be a drama just to discredit Sikh community because Sikhs in western countries are asking western Govts. to demand justice for the 1984 Sikh Genocide victim families and punishment to the guilty congress leaders. I sincerely hope that British police can catch the guilty persons and bring out the truth.

  4. There is a severe attack by Government agencies to destroy the esteem of the Sikhs. Recently we have seen the attack on Hawara, the killing of an innocent protester Bhai Jaspal Singh the attack on Bhai Rajona, the accension of Sumedh Saini, the recent Brar controversy, Canadian politicians speaking ill of Sikhs and now the detention and torture of Bhai Kulbir Singh and Bhai Daljit Singh. The conclusion is that the 1984 pogroms against the Sikh continue.

  5. I think this is all scripted by Indian agencies, to destroy support from abroad to Sikhs, otherwise otherwise if it was a real attempt, how come 4 people could not kill 78 yr old man.

  6. The 2 above statements are not warranted. Whoever done this will be caught, as London is awash with CCTV cameras. What should be of concern is if those who done this used their ‘kirpans’ for the act. What then?

  7. Brilliantly written article – very well articulated. If only all Sikhs has the intelligence to write this well. We’d have the media and world governments taking us much more seriously than they currently do.


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