British Columbia

Victims of Air India bombing remembered at Stanley Park memorial

Dozens of people gathered in Vancouver's Stanley Park Saturday to remember the 331 victims who died when Air India Flight 182 was bombed on June 23, 1985.

329 people died when Air India Flight 182 exploded off the coast of Ireland in 1985

A young boy is among dozens who gathered in Stanley Park Saturday tonight to mark the anniversary of the death of the 329 people on Air India Flight 182. (CBC News)

Gurdail Sidhu's sister-in-law, niece and nephew were killed 33 years ago when Air India Flight 182 exploded off the Irish coast, and she says every year on the anniversary of the bombing the pain feels new again.

Sidhu was among dozens who gathered Saturday at the Air India memorial wall in Vancouver's Stanley Park to remember the victims who died on June 23, 1985.

A B.C.-made bomb killed 329 people, including 280 Canadians and 86 children, when it went off in the cargo hold of the flight bound for India from Canada.

Randeep Sarai, Liberal MP for Surrey Centre, said it was hard to know anyone in the Indo-Canadian community at the time who wasn't impacted by the tragedy.

In Sarai's case, the pilot of the plane was a friend of extended family in London.

"Someone knew someone in some shape or another," Sarai said. "It was a very dark chapter in Canadian history and I think we all need to remember that and never forget it."

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix was among the mourners. His wife Renee Saklikar lost family members in the bombing.

"It's really a day for the family members who are here with us today," said Dix.

Dix said the flags at the B.C. Legislature had been lowered to half mast on Saturday to honour the dead.

The Air India attack was planned by a group of B.C. Sikh separatists led by a preacher named Talwinder Singh Parmar.

The bombing remains the worst mass murder in Canadian history.

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