Indian intelligence suspects the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) to be the Khalistani terrorist group behind the knife attack on Lt Gen (Retd) KS Brar in London on Sunday night for his involvement in Operation Bluestar.
Government sources said while Wolverhampton and Birmingham are known centres of activity for extremist groups like the BKI, International Sikh Youth Federation (Rhode) and Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), the London attack reveals these UK groups have moved beyond fund raising and slogan shouting to direct action.
This would be the first terrorist act by a Khalistani group since a burst of attacks or attempted attacks in India in 2005-06.
Indian intelligence has been in contact with its British counterparts after the attack. Brar was provided security by the Indian High Commission while being treated at the London hospital. Though Brar has Z plus security back home, New Delhi did not know of his London visit.
Intelligence sources say information about heightened activity by BKI and other pro-Khalistan groups has been sent to the UK, Germany, Canada and US intelligence since last June.
The matter was directly raised by home secretary RK Singh and Intelligence Bureau director Nehchal Sandhu in a meeting with their CIA and FBI counterparts on June 12, 2012.
The visiting Canadian foreign minister John Baird was briefed about Sikh separatists groups in Canada on September 13 by Sandhu, during a meeting with home minister Sushil Shinde.
The US has come on-board regarding these renewed Indian concerns since last June’s discussion. It even helped Indian intelligence track down two BKI activists in US and gave a commitment to not allow any anti-India activity on US soil.
Canada and Germany, however, believe Indian security concerns about the Sikh groups are exaggerated and are less forthcoming. The UK intelligence claims to have penetrated these groups to prevent any violent acts, but were blind-sided by the Brar attack.
Senior Indian government officials say there is enough intelligence to show that attacks from pro-Khalistan separatists are planned and coordinated from Canada and Germany-based radicals with funds and encouragement from UK.
“We have been receiving reports of BKI activity for three months and have been in touch with our Western counterparts through liaison meetings…It is possible the attack on General Brar was sponsored by radicals based across the English Channel,” said a senior official.