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Death Comes to a General


Time, Aug. 25, 1986

Photo: Arun Shridhar Vaidya

The attack was over in moments. As retired General Arun Vaidya, one of India's most decorated soldiers, drove with his wife and bodyguard to his home in Pune, some 80 miles from Bombay, a motorcycle and a scooter roared up on either side of his car. Each two-wheeled vehicle carried a pair of armed youths. One of them sprayed the car with gunfire, killing the general and wounding his wife. The Khalistan Commando Force, a Sikh terrorist group, promptly took responsibility.

The shooting was the latest Sikh reprisal for the Indian army's 1984 attack on Punjab's Golden Temple, the Sikhs' holiest shrine, which left more than 600 dead. Vaidya was then army Chief of Staff. Those killed in retaliation include Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was gunned down in 1984 by her own Sikh bodyguards.