Jagmeet Singh Faces Questions Over 1985 Air India Bombing

Jagmeet Singh was asked by CBC journalist Terry Milewski to condemn the reverence some Sikhs have for Babbar Khalsa founder Talwinder Singh Parmar.


Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada, hinted that questioning during a TV interview in which he was asked to condemn the reverence some Sikhs have for the 1985 Air India bombings accused Talwinder Singh Parmar, contained racist bias.

“Should I just say ‘yes’ directly? I think there was definitely some sort of clear problematic line of thought behind that question, so I’m definitely concerned with it,” Singh told reporters on Oct. 15.

He added that he denounces “anyone held responsible for any act of violence perpetrated against any innocent lives.”

During an interview with CBC journalist Terry Milewski earlier this month, Singh said, “I don’t know who is responsible,” adding, “But I think we need to find out who is truly responsible, we need to make sure that the investigation results in a conviction of someone who is actually responsible. And we need to, as a society, collectively, unequivocally denounce any time innocent lives are lost. That is something unacceptable.

“All Canadians stand together united against any forms of violence, terror against Canadians, and, in fact, against anyone around the world.”

During the show, Power & Politics, Milewski asked the NDP leader five times to denounce those who hang pictures of Parmar and consider him a martyr. Though Singh condemned the violence, he did not denounce the Parmar’s posters.

“At the time, I didn’t know who he was referring to,” Singh told HuffPost. “But I made it absolutely clear, unequivocally, that I condemn any violence against anyone in the world…. It was offensive to me that that was even a question. It is so obvious, that any Canadian would unequivocally denounce anyone who is held responsible…

“The question, to me, was very troubling. He put that question forward with such an obvious response [expected]. I responded very clearly. I denounce anyone, anyone held responsible for any act of violence perpetrated against any innocent lives. It is just unacceptable. It is, fundamentally, something that we all denounce.”

Parmar was killed by the Indian police in 1992 and some say that he never received an opportunity to prove his innocence.

Parmar founded the Babbar Khalsa International in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1979. He was accused of masterminding the bombing of the Air India flight 182, which was traveling from Montreal to New Delhi via London. As many as 329 people, including 22 Indians and several of Indian descent, died when the plane was blown up.

Singh hopes to increase his votes by almost 300 per cent by 2019 to win the federal election in Canada. In 2015, his party won 44 seats out of 338. At least 170 seats are needed to win majority. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party had won 184 seats in 2015.

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