Kanishka victims' relatives 'angry' over Canadian govt's inept handling of inquiry

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Vancouver, June 17(ANI): As the Canadian Government's Commission of Inquiry into the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing is set to release its final report, angry Indian community members have reiterated that the government has failed to ensure justice.

The commission was launched in 2006, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had appointed former Supreme Court Justice John Major as the commission's chairman.

The bombing occurred on June 23, 1985, as the Air India flight 182 was over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Montreal to London and New Delhi.

While some passengers survived the initial explosion and subsequent decompression, none survived the impact. In all, 329 people perished, among them 280 Canadian nationals, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians.

"I just don't want anyone to go through this, ever again. No one should have to be 17 and go through this," Globe and Mail quoted Deepak Khandelwal, who lost his older sisters in the disaster, as saying.

"I hope it never does occur, but if anything like this occurs again, you can only be hopeful that Canada deals with it in a much better way than it did 25 years ago," he added.

Eisha Marjara, who was 19 at the time of the disaster and not well enough to fly to India with her mother and younger sister, said that she doesn't expect the inquiry report to bring about any substantial change.

She also believes that Canada has not become any better at responding to extremist threats.

"It's hard to get angry, even though you are angry, because there's such a desire to have closure. Anger just keeps the wounds open," Marjara said.

"It would be handled differently [today], but would it be handled better? I don't know," she added.

Meanwhile, Anita Gupta, who lost her sister, is thankful that the government called the inquiry, but she fears that the findings could be used to deny Canadians due process in a bid to improve security.

"My sister didn't die so that she could be used as a justification to limit others' freedoms unnecessarily," she said.

The only person convicted of involvement in the bombing was Inderjit Singh Reyat, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter in constructing the bomb used on the flight, and received a five-year sentence. He was refused parole in July 2007.

Two others, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted in 2005 on murder charges related to the bombing. (ANI)

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