The brutal knife attack on Operation Bluestar commander Lt Gen (Retd) Kuldip Singh Brar in central London on Sunday night has heightened the security agencies’ anxieties about foreign-based terror groups making a renewed bid to destabilise Punjab.
The attempt to assassinate Brar, who commanded Operation Bluestar to flush out Khalistani militants from the Golden Temple 28 years ago, is being seen in Punjab police circles as a clear signal of the extremists’ desperation to revive their separatist agenda.
“The message is loud and clear and everybody must be watchful,” SK Sharma, additional director general of police (law and order) told Hindustan Times.
“We are very watchful of the prevailing situation and well prepared and focused as well.”
Top-ranking Punjab police officers agree that the bid to kill Brar was the handiwork of pro-Khalistan sympathisers who are active in the UK and are trying to motivate their cadre through such audacious attempts.
A former Punjab DGP said: “This episode is also testimony to the fact that people haven’t forgotten what happened 28 years ago and the extremists are looking for opportunities to hit back.”
But the Punjab Police are uncertain about the identity of the terror outfit behind the murderous assault on Brar.
“As of now it is very difficult to know who were behind this incident. It looks like they wanted to send a clear message back home,” a senior police officer said.
The London attack, police sources admit, is a wake-up call that brings into focus Intelligence Bureau chief Nehchal Sandhu’s recent statement that terror groups are focusing on Punjab.