UK promises to bring Brar's attackers to justice

India to ask UK, other nations to curb pro-Khalistani groups

Even as the United Kingdom has assured India that it would bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack on Lt. Gen. (retired) K S Brar in London on September 30 last, New Delhi is likely to cite the incident to nudge British and Canadian Governments to keep tab on Khalistanis active in both the countries.  

In a letter to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the UK Government was determined to bring the perpetrators of the attack on Indian Army veteran to justice and London would keep New Delhi updated about the progress of the investigation.

New Delhi, however, is likely to urge both London and Ottawa that extremists should not be allowed to take advantage of freedom of expression guaranteed by local laws to spread fanaticism. India is also set to ask both UK and Canadian Government to probe if the pro-Khalistani elements in both the countries had any links with Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence.

The London Police arrested 10 men and two women in connection with the attack on Brar, who had led the Operation Blue Star that the Indian Army had carried out in Golden Temple to flush out the Khalistani militants from the Sikh shrine in Amritsar in 1984.

Though Brar said that his “strongly built, bearded and tall” and attackers were “pro-Khalistanis”, London Police did not disclose identity and ethnicity of none of the 12 persons it arrested so far, but most of them were from Wolverhampton, Bromwich and Hillingdon – all known for significant population of Sikhs. Nine of them were released on bail, while three others are still in policy custody and being interrogated.

Sources told Deccan Herald that New Delhi had been receiving intelligence inputs over the past couple of years about the ISI’s efforts to revive Sikh militancy in India and to support Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Zindabad Force and the newly-formed Khalistan Tiger Force through International Sikh Youth Federation and its offshoots in European and North American countries. A senior Punjab Police officer had on September 15, 2011 briefed top security officials in New Delhi about the intelligence inputs, suggesting that the ISI had asked the BKI, KZF and KTF to do some “spectacular actions” to announce their revival.

Notwithstanding the protracted probe into the 1985 bombing of the Air India’s Kanishka aircraft by Sikh militants in Canada and the subsequent much-publicized trial of the accused, pro-Khalistani elements and groups are still active in the North American country. Krishna last month took up with his Canadian counterpart John Baird the issue of Khalistani radical elements’ continued presence and activities in the latter’s country.

Baird assured him that Ottawa would do “everything it could possibly do under the law to combat radical extremism by such groups in Canada”. He also told Krishna that Ottawa would look forward to inputs from New Delhi to revise and update the list of the Sikh militant groups that had been tagged as terrorist organizations in Canada in 2003.

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