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The Air India disaster, 20 years later

The Story


Twenty years after the downing of Air India flight 182, families gather in Ahakista, Ireland to grieve. The mourners set free 329 white balloons into the grey cloudy sky. Relatives and friends of the victims push forth floating candles into the ebbing ocean. Prime Minister Paul Martin has declared the anniversary a national day of mourning. For some, this acknowledgement brings comfort. But others say they are still searching for answers and justice, and demand a public inquiry.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 23, 2005
Guest(s): Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, Sanjay Lazar, Ed Madon, Paul Martin, Babu Turlapati
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Terry Milewski
Duration: 4:19

Did You know?


• "The flight may have been Air India, it may have taken place off the coast of Ireland, but in so many ways this is a Canadian tragedy." -- Prime Minister Paul Martin, at the memorial service, June 23, 2005
• On June 7, 2005, Martin met with the grieving families. He was the first prime minister to hold such a meeting with the victims of Air India.

• Family members continued to insist on the need for a public inquiry. "Only truth can set us free. Do not trivialize the magnitude of this tragedy by saying nothing can be done," Padmini Turlapati said at the memorial.
• Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Jack Layton, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell were also in attendance at the memorial.


• In his speech, Martin announced that a memorial will be built in Canada. He also said there will be an annual day of remembrance for victims of terrorism.
• Former Ontario premier Bob Rae is currently investigating whether an inquiry is necessary and appropriate. He is expected to advise the federal government of his findings later this year.


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