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Air India crash remembered in Ireland

Victims' relatives and dignitaries gathered at an Irish memorial site Wednesday to remember those lost in the bombing of Air India Flight 182.

Memorials to be held across Canada

Victims' relatives and dignitaries gathered at an Irish memorial site Wednesday to remember those lost in the bombing of Air India Flight 182.

A section from the wing of the crashed Air India jumbo jet is unloaded from a Norwegian freighter in Cork, Ireland, on June 25, 1985. ((Reuters))

Mourners observed a minute's silence at the memorial honouring the 329 people killed when a bomb destroyed the plane 25 years ago.

The flight disintegrated in the air on June 23, 1985, and plunged into the Atlantic off the Irish coast.

"Those who use terrorism and violence in pursuit of their misguided objectives seek to divide people and communities with their agenda of hate and intolerance," Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin told the ceremony in the seaside garden, which features a stone sundial permanently set to mark 8:13 a.m. on June 23.

"This is where families of the victims came 25 years ago to identify the remains of people killed in the crash," CBC's Tom Parry said. 

"They've been coming back for the anniversary every year."

Memorials marking the 25th anniversary of the bombing are planned for Wednesday evening in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day will attend the memorial ceremony organized by family members at the Air India Memorial at Ceperley Playground in Vancouver's Stanley Park at 7 p.m. PT.

Harper to apologize

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will join victim's families at the Toronto memorial, where Harper is expected to offer an apology to the families for federal failings in the tragedy.

Harper's apology follows a scathing report released last week by former Supreme Court justice John C. Major. He blamed a "cascading series of errors" by government, the RCMP and Canada's spy agency for failing to prevent the disaster.

Harper called the report a "damning indictment of many things that occurred before and after the tragedy" which the government is "determined to avoid in the future."

The prime minister said the government takes Major's report "very seriously" and will "respond positively" to his recommendations for an apology and compensation for families.

Renee Saklikar runs her hand across the names of victims on a memorial honouring those killed in the bombing of Air India Flight 182, at Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C., on June 17, 2010. Her aunt and uncle, doctors Zebunnisa Jethwa and Umar Jethwa were killed in the bombing. ((Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press))

Lata Pada lost her husband and two daughters in the Air India bombing. She told CBC News Wednesday that an apology would be a "historic moment" for the families of the victims, and for Canada.

"Finally we will feel as families that our loved ones have been honoured, and that their memories will always be important, to just not the families, but to Canadian history as well," she said.

An inquiry into the bombing — how it occurred, why the authorities failed to find those responsible, and whether it could happen again — began on June 21, 2006.

Inderjit Singh Reyat was the only person ever convicted in the case. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2003.

Suspected ringleader Talwinder Singh Parmar died in India in 1991, and the RCMP's two main surviving suspects — Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri — were both acquitted in March 2005 after a 19-month trial. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Josephson ruled that the Crown's case against the two was too weak for a conviction.

With files from The Canadian Press

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