‘It brings back all the terrible memories’: British Columbians mark 37 years since Air India bombing

Families and others who lost loved ones in a massive terrorist attack 37 years ago attended a grim birthday memorial service Thursday night in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

Dozens of people spoke of their memories and losses, and many renewed their decades-long clamor for justice.

On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up over the Atlantic Ocean en route to London. All 329 people on board were killed.

The flight disappeared off the radar off the coast of Ireland after a bomb exploded inside the plane.

Of the 329 dead, 280 were Canadians traveling to India, and 86 were children. It is considered the worst mass murder in modern Canadian history.

One of the dead that day was Eddie Madon’s father.

“It brings back all the terrible memories of that day,” Madon said Thursday. “Over time, I think the wounds have become dull… But when I come here, and especially on this day, it hurts a lot.”

Dozens of British Columbians whose loved ones were among the hundreds killed in the 1985 Air India bombing attend Thursday’s 37th anniversary vigil in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. (CBC)

Only one person was ever convicted of the attack: Inderjit Singh Reyat. The Canadian-British citizen is now free, having served 30 years for his role in the crime and for lying at trial.

Crown lawyers claimed during court proceedings that the bombing was a terrorist attack on state-owned Air India, a retaliation by Sikh extremists from BC against the Indian government for ordering the military to destroy Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple. in Amritsar, to rob. , June 1984.

VIEW | The downing of Air India Flight 182

The downing of Air India Flight 182

The British Royal Navy searches for survivors and wreckage of a jet carrying 329 people, most of them Canadian.

Two other men from BC, Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, were acquitted of murder and conspiracy in the two bombings.

The suspect who, according to Canadian authorities, was the mastermind behind the bomb plot, Talwinder Singh Parmar, was murdered by police in India.

Adrian Dix, BC’s health minister, spoke at the vigil as he has for years, calling the perpetrators “child killers” on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau . said tweeted in memory of the “329 innocent people … killed in a terrorist attack” on the Air India flight.

The day is commemorated annually as Canada’s officially declared National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism, “to honor them and all victims of terrorist attacks,” he said in the tweet.

Leave a Comment