Unfazed by the attempt on his life in London, Lt Gen (retd) KS Brar, who commanded 'Operation Bluestar' in 1984, on Wednesday asserted he would not be cowed down by the attack and not hesitate to air his views fearlessly.
"I cannot afford to be frightened (by the attack)... well, I have to take care of myself but would express views forcefully", the 78-year-old General told reporters at his residence here after his return from the British capital.
Brar, who had led the Army's operation to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar nearly three decades ago, was stabbed and injured by four persons suspected to be Khalistan sympathisers in London on Sunday night.
He expressed unhappiness over Government's claim that there was no need to provide security to him. "Home Ministry may have their own views...they kept on saying that I did not inform them (about my London visit). They say security will be given if needed. Don't I need security?. It is unfortunate that they (Government) are so irresponsible."
Brar said he had informed the Army about his visit to London. "I informed the authorities who might have shared the information with Defence, Home and External Affairs Ministries. That is not my concern. Whether they provide security or not, it does not matter... But this does not stop me from meeting my relatives and family. I am not a prisoner."
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said his Government would step up the security provided to him.
However, he did not elaborate how much additional security would be given to the retired General.
Asked whether there was an increased threat perception to his life in the view of the UK incident, he said "if you go to Facebook there are accounts of `hate Brar' and some of them even say 'we need to kill Brar'."
"There are hate clubs on Facebook. Go to Google and you would find threats to me. This is something that I have to live with. I can’t afford to be frightened. I have to take care of myself. But I will express my views, forcefully and strongly."
Brar criticised Punjab's Akali Dal-led government on the issue of setting up a memorial for the militants killed in the 1984 operation.
"Monuments are coming up in Punjab and inside the Golden Temple. You call them (those killed in the Operation Blue Star) martyrs. They are criminals, murderers and terrorists. And you are honouring them?
"The top politicians of Akali Dal are attending these functions. Chief Minister is also attending them. The Centre says it is a state subject. If it affects national security and unity, the Centre has to step in and stop it. Otherwise, we will be going back to 1980s."
"If you allow these so called pro-Khalistanis to revive terrorism, there will be a stage when we can't stop them and we will go back to the 1980 era when terrorism was at its peak," he warned.
"In Kashmir, soldiers are on duty round-the-clock without caring for their lives. Has the government ever thought of building memorial for the soldiers who died on the call of duty?" Brar asked.
Asked whether he suspected his attackers to be pro- Khalistanis, Brar replied, "the attackers were tall, strongly built and bearded. I cannot imagine why would anyone else stab me. The only people who target me are pro-Khalistanis. But I cannot say definitely that the attackers were Khalistanis, although fingers point towards them.
"We were returning from a dinner when the incident happened. I had gone to London to meet my family members and friends," he said, adding that it was his holiday trip.
"In UK there is a strong presence of pro-Khalistanis who celebrate Ghalughara (an event in support to those killed in Operation Blue Star). They stage demonstrations, take out processions to demand Khalistan. They are very active and lend support and money (for separatist cause). They also threaten to kill me. The UK government should stop this."
Brar expressed doubts whether an internal inquiry would yield any result on the information leaking out about his visit to London. "Everyone has means and methods of finding out information."