Brar and his wife being escorted by securitymen at Mumbai airport on Wednesday. (AP)
Mumbai, Oct. 3: Retired Lt Gen. Kuldip Singh Brar today contested the Centre’s claim that he hadn’t disclosed his London travel plans while asserting he wasn’t a “prisoner” to be cowed down by Sunday’s assassination bid.
“The home ministry is saying that Gen. Brar did not inform us. They say they only provide security where there is a need. Don’t I need security? It is irresponsible and unfortunate,” the 78-year-old said at his Mumbai home this evening.
“I am OK with not being provided security or being provided security. I am not a prisoner. It won’t stop me from going to meet my friends and family.”
Brar claimed he had followed “standard procedure” and informed local army authorities. “I had informed the army. It is for them to go through various channels to inform the ministries,” said Brar, who has blamed the neck stabbing on pro-Khalistan groups targeting him over his role in Operation Bluestar of 1984.
Hours ago, Brar’s wife Meena had ruled out requests for more security. “No. That (threat) is always there and will be there. That doesn’t really matter,” she had told reporters at Mumbai airport when asked whether she saw greater danger to her husband’s life and needed more security.
Late this evening, the Centre indicated it was looking at relocating Brar as his present location had been exposed to Khalistani terrorists. Home ministry officials also said the former general’s security was likely to be upgraded to the “Z-plus” category from the existing “Z”.
The Maharashtra government followed suit. “We will increase the security given to Lt Gen. K.S. Brar. We will provide as much security as required,” state home minister R.R. Patil said.
Brar wondered how his location, Old Quebec Street in London, became known to the four assailants. He conceded the attack would affect his life. “The attack will cut down my movements. I will be more careful and alert,” he said, his neck and a part of his face swathed in bandages.
Brar also criticised the Akali Dal-led Punjab government. “There is a monument being put up to honour the so-called martyrs (militants killed in Operation Bluestar). Politicians are attending these functions. The Centre says they cannot interfere as it is a state subject.”
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal didn’t agree with Brar’s assessment suggesting revival of terrorism and asserted there was “complete peace”. “To hold the Punjab government responsible for anything that happens in the world is wild imagination,” he said in Ropar.