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The Air India arrests

It was deemed the worst act of terrorism in Canadian history: 331 people were killed in two decisive and deliberate explosions — one in a Japanese airport, another aboard Air India flight 182 in 1985. For the families of the victims, most of them Canadian, this was just the beginning. Charges of investigative bungling would be followed by the more startling accusations that CSIS, Canada's security agency, intentionally initiated a coverup. For over 20 years Canadians have grappled with this unsolved crime for which no one has yet had to pay.

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It's a new chapter in the Air India investigation, say the RCMP. Fifteen years after the explosion, charges are laid against Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri as reported in this CBC News report. The investigation, which has been characterized as troubled at best, has been deemed the "longest and most complex investigation in RCMP history."

Police and prosecutors have a formidable task ahead, with as many as a million pages of evidence to wade through. For the families, the news is bittersweet. "I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high because I don't want to get let down again," says one victim's daughter. "But it's something. Something to hold on to for now."
• Ajaib Singh Bagri, a millworker and a Sikh priest, moved to Canada in 1971. He settled in Kamloops, B.C. Bagri was observed for making a passionate speech at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In his speech, he called for the murder of 50,000 Hindus in retaliation for the Golden Temple attacks in 1984.

• Ripudaman Singh Malik, a well-known Vancouver millionaire, immigrated to Canada in 1972. In 1986 he opened an independent Sikh school and the Khalsa Credit Union.
• Bagri and Malik were charged with eight counts, including first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and causing a bomb to be placed on an aircraft.

• Ajaib Singh Bagri was also charged with the 1988 attempted murder of Tara Singh Hayer, the late publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times. Hayer was shot and killed in 1998. His murder case hasn't been solved.
• Talwinder Singh Parmar and Inderjit Singh Reyat were also named as unindicted co-conspirators. Reyat had previously been convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for the Narita airport bombing.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Oct. 27, 2000
Guest(s): Susheel Gupta, Natasha Madon, Perviz Madon, Michael McAuliffe, Lata Pada
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Darrow MacIntyre
Duration: 3:59

Last updated: April 23, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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