Kanishka bomber sheds tears, apologizes to victim families

Friday, November 19, 2010

VANCOUVER - Kanishka bomber Inderjit Singh Reyat finally shed tears and issued a heart-felt apology Thursday to the families of 329 victims who perished in the Air India bombing 25 years ago.

Reyat, the only man to spend 15 years in jail for the 1985 bombing, issued the apology during his on-going perjury trial here in which he faces another 14 years behind bars.

Kanishka flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off mid-air near Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board. Within an hour, another bomb meant for another Air India flight went off at Tokyo’s Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers.

“No words in any language can ever bring closure to those who have lost loves ones as a result of the Air India and Narita tragedies,” Reyat said in his remorse statement in the provincial British Columbia supreme court here.

“Neither can words bring back those who perished in such tragic circumstances,” he said in his statement read out in his presence by his lawyer.

Reyat said, “I pray every day that God will ease the terrible burden of loss that so many people continue to suffer as a consequence of these terrible events.”

The Kanishka bomber wiped his tears as his lawyer finished reading his apology for the biggest aviation massacre till 9/11 happened.

But prosecution lawyer dismissed the apology, saying, “No proffer of truth.” Even the presiding judge was furious when the defence lawyer sought lesser jail term for Reyat on the grounds that his client has shown no anti-social behaviour except his role in two bombings.

“You don’t need to be anti-social,” the judge said, adding that “what happened here is a group of individuals got together and for a political purpose decided they had the right to execute 331 people, and but for an accident of timing would have taken down another 250 people.”

Reyat’s current trial stems from lying multiple times under oath to save two other bombing suspects Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri during their trial in 2003. The two were later acquitted.

The two bombs that destroyed Kanishka flight and killed two baggage handlers in Tokyo were planted by Vancouver-based Khalistani extremists to avenge the 1984 Indian military action at the Golden Temple against heavily armed Sikh militants who had taken sanctuary there.

Filed under: Terrorism

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