Families angry as Air India bomber appeals conviction

February 9th, 2011 - 9:54 am ICT by IANS  

Vancouver, Feb 9 (IANS) Jailed Air India Kanishka bomber Inderjit Singh Reyat’s petition to challenge his latest conviction has angered families of the victims of the 1985 tragedy.After spending 15 years in jail for his role in the Air India bombing plot, Reyat got additional nine years last month for lying 19 times under oath to save two other suspects Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri during their trial in 2003.

But Reyat has challenged his conviction in the British Columbia Court of Appeal here, saying the trial judge erred in application of law.

Reacting angrily to Reyat’s appeal, Shipra Rana, sister of Kanishka flight attendant Shyla Juju, told IANS, “We cannot fight this (any more), nor will our sentiments make a difference.”

Accusing the Canadian government of ignoring the implementation of the John Major inquiry report into security lapses that led to the tragedy, she said, “The victim families are still waiting for the government to fulfill the promises made nine months ago. We don’t seem to matter… the media finds our sentiments and issues old and stale news. The government has not yet spoken to the families of the victims overseas. We lost our family members… please remind all how and why it all happened.”

Asked Anil Singh Hanse, son of Kanishka pilot Narendra Singh Hanse, “Has Canada lost all perspective on the right and wrong with Reyat and the games he plays with the legal system while we get the door closed on us with any query we have made from the government?”

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.

Reyat admitted to testing the bomb that blew off at Tokyo airport and was jailed for 10 years in 1991. After this, he was given another five years - in plea bargain that he would testify truthfully at the trial of two other suspects - for his role in assembling the bomb that blew off Kanishka.

But he lied multiple times during the trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri in 2003, leading to their acquittal.

So when Reyat got out of jail in 2008, he was slapped with the perjury case, leading to additional nine-year jail for him last month.

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