(Clockwise from top left) Mandeep Singh Sandhu, Dilbag Singh, Barjinder Singh Sangha, and Harjit Kaur, were convicted of slashing a retired Indian general’s throat. (Photo: Metropolitan Police)
Elham Asaad Buaras
A gang of Sikh extremists who slashed the throat of a retired Indian general in a revenge attack for a military operation which killed 500 people have been jailed for a total of nearly 50 years on December 10.
Lt General Kuldip Singh Brar, 78, and his wife Meena, were ambushed by four men in a terrorist attack on September 30, 2012.
Harjit Kaur, 39, followed the couple as they enjoyed a night out in the West End, before relaying their movements to her boyfriend, Dilbag Singh, 37, Mandeep Singh Sandu, 34, and Barjinder Sangha, 33.
The attack was planned in retaliation for a controversial military raid – Operation Blue Star – led by Lt General Brar on the Golden Temple of Amritsar in north west India in 1984. The men, tipped off by Kaur, followed the couple as they returned to the Mostyn Hotel in Marble Arch.
Sangha grabbed Meena by the throat and hurled her against a wall in nearby Old Quebec Street. When Brar intervened, Sangha sliced his throat and stabbed him in the jaw, as the other men held him down. The retired soldier survived the attack.
All the defendants worshipped at the Central Gudwara London (Khalsa Jatha) in west London, which was used as a “base and meeting point” to plan the stabbing.
Singh and Sandu, who were convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after a trial, were each jailed for 14 years.
Sangha was locked up for 10 years and six months. Kaur received 11 years in jail, because she had not participated physically in attack. A fifth member of the group remains at large, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Sentencing, Judge Jeffrey Pegden said: “I am of the view that the attackers wanted to inflict more serious harm, but that Kuldip Brar fought back, preventing that happening.” The defendants waved to a packed public gallery of family and supporters, raising in their hands in prayer and smiling broadly.
Prosecutor Annabel Darlow said: “This was no random attack, this was a highly premeditated assault by people who thought about what they were doing and planned it.”
Mari Reid of the CPS’s Counter Terrorism Division, said: “This was a violent and life threatening attack carried out by Sikh extremists on the streets of London’s West End.