Vikram Bajwa to highlight justice for Kanishka crash victims

Chandigarh, Dec 31 (ANI): Indian Overseas Congress President Vikram Bajwa has promised to highlight the cause of justice for the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing victims at the forthcoming Non-Resident Indian Conclave 2011.

Speaking to the media persons here on Thursday, Bajwa termed all those, who lost their lives in the bombing of Kanishka in mid-air as martyrs.

"The biggest issue is that after 25 years, Justice John Major came with the report and that reports needs to be implemented in its entirety. By saying this, we come and acknowledge that they were all martyrs. For us, they are part of a group of people, a group of individuals, who sacrificed their lives for the nation," said Bajwa.

In his report submitted to the Canadian Government in June, former Canadian chief Justice John Major, who headed a public inquiry commission into the Kanishka bombing, has recommended ex-gratia payment for the victim families alongside major steps to overhaul security systems to avert such tragedies in the future.

Bajwa further said that other important issues that would be raised include the voting rights of Canadian NRIs (non-resident Indians) to vote in their respective countries without having to travel all the way to India and the propagation of a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council.

Amarjit Kaur Bhinder, the widow of the co-pilot of Kanishka S S Bhinder, who was also present on the occasion, said that it was a shame that the Canadian Government has not been able to book the guilty even after 25 years.

"We are all, you know beating around the bush for last 25 years without getting any justice. As I said earlier, our first and foremost interest is to find the culprits and punish them. That phase is over; the Canadian Government has failed in that," said Bhinder.

"Secondly, now they should look after the security; they should upgrade the systems, security systems. And implement the recommendations given by Justice John Major in full spirit. And thirdly, they should compensate the families adequately," she added.

Amarjit Kaur Bhinder further said that if the Canadian Government would grant 20,000 Canadian dollars as compensation to each victim, she would not accept it, as the amount is nothing compared to the loss suffered by the families, who lost their dear and near ones and in some cases, the lone bread earners too.

Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal-London-Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the airplane operating on the route - a Boeing 747-237B named after Emperor Kanishka - was blown up by a bomb while in Irish airspace, at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m), and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

329 people perished, including 280 Canadian citizens, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians. The incident was the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history. The explosion and downing of the carrier occurred within an hour of the related Narita Airport Bombing. (ANI)

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