Air India Bombing Single Worst Terrorist Attack in Canada’s History: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to the victims of the 1985 Air India bombing on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism in Canada.


The Air India bombing that took place in 1985 was the “single worst terrorist attack” in Canada’s history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on June 23. The Air India Kanishka Flight 182 was blown off mid-air, killing 329 people on board, including 280 Canadians and 86 children.

“On this day in 1985, Canadians awoke to news that defied belief, and left our country in a state of shock and suffering,” Trudeau said in Ottawa to pay tribute to the victims on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism in Canada.

“The Air India bombing remains the single worst terrorist attack in Canada’s history. This horrific act of malice and destruction left families and friends grieving the loss of loved ones, and brought pain that will never completely go away,” he added in the statement.

Several people also gathered on June 23 at the Air India memorial wall in Vancouver’s Stanley Park to remember the victims, CBC reported.

The Air India flight was travelling to Mumbai via London and New Delhi, after picking up passengers in Toronto and Montreal, when it disappeared from radar off the coast of Ireland. A bomb exploded on board, killing 329 people, including passengers and crew members.

The Air India inquiry later revealed that pro-Khalistani militants had dropped two bomb-carrying suitcases at Vancouver airport, one each to be loaded aboard Air India flights in Toronto and Tokyo airports. The other bomb exploded prematurely at Narita airport in Tokyo while it was being transferred to the Bangkok-bound Air India Flight 301, killing two baggage handlers. The Air India Flight 182 exploded 55 minutes later and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Ireland.

The sole person convicted for the incident, Inderjit Singh Reyat, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2003 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Reyat was released last year.

Condemning all forms of terrorism, Trudeau said: “We stand in solidarity with our allies, and the international community, in the ongoing fight to prevent radicalization and fight terrorism at home and abroad.” He added: “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my condolences to everyone everywhere who has lost loved ones to terrorism. We also thank and honor those who work each day to keep our citizens, communities, and country safe.”

Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that while one person has been brought to justice, there are others who still walk free, PTI reported. “The investigation will not be completed until those have been brought to justice,” Sajjad said, according to the news agency.

In British Columbia, flags at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria flew at half-mast to mark the day, IANS reported. Premier John Horgan also paid tributes to the victims of the tragedy, saying, “Canadians will never forget this act of terror that took the lives of 329 people, including 280 Canadians. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims.’’

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