• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Canada

Probe into 1985 Air India plane bombing ‘active, ongoing’, say Canada cops

On June 23, 1985, the Montreal-New Delhi Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182 exploded 45 minutes before landing at London’s Heathrow Airport, resulting in deaths of all 329 individuals on board, predominantly Canadians of Indian origin.

Relatives pray at the memorial commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Air India disaster on June 23, 2005, in Ahakista, Cork, Ireland. (Photo by FRAN CAFFREY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

CANADIAN police have said that investigations into the bombing of Air India Flight 182 are “active and ongoing”, describing it as the “longest” and one of the “most complex domestic terrorism” probes. The revelation comes ahead of the 39th anniversary memorial of the deadly bombing on Sunday (23).

It was on June 23, 1985, that the Montreal-New Delhi Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182 exploded 45 minutes before landing at London’s Heathrow Airport, resulting in deaths of all 329 individuals on board, predominantly Canadians of Indian origin.

The bombing was blamed on Sikh militants in retaliation to ‘Operation Bluestar’ to remove militants from the Golden Temple in India’s Punjab state and one of the holiest shrines of Sikhism, in 1984.

Read: Sikh extremists try to get off Canada’s no-fly list, fail

In a statement on Friday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) assistant commissioner David Teboul called the bombing the “greatest terror-related loss of life involving and affecting Canadians” in the country’s history as he offered “deepest sympathies, understanding and support to the families of the victims”.

“The Air India investigation is the longest and certainly one of the most complex domestic terrorism investigations that the RCMP has undertaken in our history,” Teboul said.

Read: India’s Kanishka air tragedy response after Canada MPs honour Nijjar on first death anniversary

“Our investigative efforts remain active and ongoing,” he said. Asserting that the impacts of the bombing “have not diminished with time” he said that the trauma it caused has impacted generations.

“We must never forget those innocent lives lost to this tragedy and other acts of terrorism,” he said.

Noting that this year marks the 39th anniversary memorial of the bombing, he said that the 40th memorial, a significant milestone, is approaching in 2025.

“At the memorials, previous and current employees from the investigation and our greater organisation, past and present, will ensure we remember those lost and those left to deal with the unthinkable,” he said.

“Over the years, attending the memorials has been an opportunity to pay our respects to the victims and their families and show our appreciation for all those that did so much to respond to and investigate the tragedy,” he said, encouraging people to do the same in private or at the memorials in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

India’s consulates in Vancouver and Toronto have planned a memorial service to mark the anniversary of the bombing. A memorial is scheduled on June 23 at the Air India Memorial at Stanley Park’s Ceperley Playground area in Vancouver. Another memorial service is scheduled at South Lawn, Queen’s Park, Toronto.

(With PTI inputs)

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