Canada unveils another memorial to Air India victims

June 23rd, 2011 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, June 23 (IANS) Canada will unveil another memorial to the 1985 Air Indian Kanishka bombing victims Thursday - the 26th anniversary of the tragedy.

The new memorial will be unveiled at Lachine in Quebec province. It is the fourth memorial to the Air India victims in Canada.

Kanishka flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off near Ireland June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board. Within an hour, another bomb meant for another Air India flight went off at Tokyo’s Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers. Both the bombs were planted by Khalistani extremists to avenge the India army action at the Golden Temple in 1984.

In a statement, the Indian high commission said the government of Canada is organizing a memorial service at Lachine to pay homage to the victims of the Air India flight 182.

“Endorsed by the families of the victims, this project is supported by the Government of Canada and built on a land provided by Parks Canada.”

Indian deputy high commissioner Narinder Chauhan will represent India at the tribute ceremonies.

Canadian leaders, diplomats and families of the victims will also pay tributes to the victims at the Air India Memorial in Commissioner’s Park in the capital Ottawa.

Tributes to the victims will also be paid Air India memorials in Toronto and Vancouver. Anil Singh Hanse, whose father Narendra Singh Hanse was the pilot of the Kanishka flight, told IANS, “On the twenty-sixth anniversary of the cowardly bombing of our loved ones whom we miss so much, I have a message for the Canadian PM: this year makes it twenty-sixth painful years (for us) and we the families would like to see a resolution to this matter with grace that was shown by the current government in 2006 by ordering an inquiry.”

Only one person Inderjit Singh Reyat was jailed for the bombing. While plotter Talwinder Singh Parmar, who fled to India, was killed by Punjab Police in an encounter in 1992, two suspects - Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri - were acquited in 2005.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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