Toronto, June 24 (IANS) Canada remembered the 329 victims of Air India Kanishka Flight 182 which was blown off mid-air on June 23, 1985.
The day is marked as National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism in Canada.
Paying tributes to the victims, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said: “On this day in 1985, Canadians awoke to news that defied belief, and left our country in a state of shock and suffering.”
“The Air India bombing remains the single worst terrorist attack in Canada’s history. This horrific act of malice and destruction left families and friends grieving the loss of loved ones, and brought pain that will never completely go away,” the Prime Minister said.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my condolences to everyone everywhere who has lost loved ones to terrorism. We also thank and honour those who work each day to keep our citizens, communities, and country safe,” he added.
Air India Flight 182, bound for London after picking up passengers in Toronto and Montreal, disappeared from radar off the coast of Ireland. A bomb – planted on the plane in Canada in an act of terror – exploded on board, killing 329 innocent people, including 280 Canadians.
According to the Air India inquiry, two bomb-carrying suitcases were loaded by pro-Khalistani militants at Vancouver airport, to be transferred to Air India flights in Toronto and Tokyo airports.
While the bomb transferred on Air India Flight 182 in Toronto exploded in mid-air off the Irish coast, killing all 329 people and crew on board, the other bomb went off at Narita airport in Tokyo during transfer on to Mumbai-bound Air India flight, killing two baggage handlers.
Only one person – Inderjit Singh Reyat – was ever convicted the worst mass murder in Canadian history.
In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan also paid tributes the the Air India victims as flags at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria flew at half-mast to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
“Canadians will never forget this act of terror that took the lives of 329 people, including 280 Canadians. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims,” the Premier said.