Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Canada says investigation into bombing of Air India flight 182 is ‘active and ongoing’

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Toronto: Canadian law enforcement has said the investigation into the bombing of Air India flight 182, the Kanishka, by Khalistani terrorists on June 23, 1985 is “active and ongoing”.

The memorial in Ottawa, Canada for the victims of the terrorist bombing of Air India flight 182 on June 23, 1985. (Credit: High Commission of India, Ottawa)

In a statement released on Friday, Assistant Commissioner David Teboul, Commander of the Federal Policing Program in the Pacific Region, said, “The Air India investigation is the longest and certainly one of the most complex domestic terrorism investigations that the RCMP has undertaken in our history. Our investigative efforts remain active and ongoing.”

He also encouraged Canadians to visit the four memorials for the victims, located in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa. “Over the years, attending the memorials have been an opportunity to pay our respects to the victims and their families, and show our appreciation for all those that did so much to respond to and investigate the tragedy,” he said.

“The impacts of the greatest terror-related loss of life involving and affecting Canadians in our country’s history have not diminished with time. The trauma caused by the bombing on June 23, 1985 has impacted generations,” he added.

The terror attack claimed 329 lives, with two baggage handlers at Narita Airport in Japan also being killed by another bomb that was meant to target another aircraft.

In June 2017, Gary Bass, who was associated in various capacities with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation between 1994 and 2011, told the Hindustan Times that progress was still possible despite decades having passed.

“There’s always the hope someone’s conscience will get to them eventually. There are a lot of cases where people feel intimidated or threatened. After the threat has gone away — due to a number of things, (like) due to the person making the threats not being around anymore — sometimes people feel they can come forward and tell the police what they know,” Bass said.

While the task force probe continued, till date only bombmaker Inderjit Singh Reyat was convicted in connection with the tragedy. He was released from a halfway house and allowed to return to his family home by the Parole Board of Canada in February 2017.

There are at least three persons the investigators had leads on. Among them is a person described as Mr X who spent a week with Reyat as he built the bomb used in the attack.

In 2005, Justice IB Josephson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s ruling noted the violently separatist Khalistan movement was the “motive” behind the attack and Talwinder Singh Parmar was “generally acknowledged by both Crown (the prosecution) and defence to have been the leader in the conspiracy to commit these crimes.”

Despite those facts being reiterated in two separate probes conducted by retired Justice John Major and Bob Rae, now Canada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has offered CA$ 5 million from ‘pro-Khalistan” elements for another inquiry commission to look into the discredited conspiracy theory of an Indian angle to the episode.

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