Monday, November 29, 1999

Air India Kanishka bombing report today

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Toronto, June 17 (IANS) For the families of 329 victims of the Air India Kanishka bombing in 1985, the tragic memories of the event 25 years ago will be revived Thursday when the Canadian commission investigating the tragedy will table its final report.Former Canadian chief justice John Major, who was appointed to head the commission in May 2006, will present his voluminous report on the failures which led to the bombing of the Montreal-to-Delhi Kanishka flight 182 off the Irish coast June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on aboard.Another bomb, meant for another Air India flight, also went off at Tokyo airport the same day, killing two baggage handlers.As the Air India trial confirmed, both the bombs were loaded by pro-Khalistan elements at Vancouver airport in two unaccompanied suitcases which were later transferred to the connecting Air India flight and Tokyo-bound flight at Toronto airport.Running into 4,000 pages, the five-volume report, which also carries various academic papers and a number of studies, will pinpoint the causes and systemic failures which led to the worst aviation tragedy till 9/11. Only Inderjit Singh Reyat, who was released last year after spending 15 years in jail, was convicted for the Kanishka bombing blamed on Khalistani extremists seeking revenge for the Indian army action at the Golden Temple to flush out militants in 1984.Two other suspects - Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik - were acquitted by the trial court in March 2005.The verdict created pressure by the families of the victims on the Canadian government to pinpoint the reasons for the worst air tragedy till 9/11, leading to the appointment of the commission under Justice John Major.Many families of the victims expect the report to put closure to their trauma.

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