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Ripudaman Singh Malik, 1985 Air India bombing accused, shot dead in Canada

Malik and Bagri were charged with 329 counts of first-degree murder but were acquitted after Reyat, who was made a prosecution witness, said he could not remember details of the plot or the names of those involved.

Ripudaman Malik, 1985 Air India bombing, Kanishka, Kanishka bombing, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsCBC News cited witness accounts to report that three shots were heard and Malik was hit in the neck. Media reports quoted the local police as confirming that shots were fired at around 9.30 am local time and that a man succumbed to injuries at the scene. They said it appeared to be a targeted shooting.

Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombing case, was shot dead in Surrey in Canada’s British Columbia on Thursday morning, Canadian news outlets reported.

CBC News cited witness accounts to report that three shots were heard and Malik was hit in the neck. Media reports quoted the local police as confirming that shots were fired at around 9.30 am local time and that a man succumbed to injuries at the scene. They said it appeared to be a targeted shooting.

Malik, Inderjeet Singh Reyat and Ajaib Singh Bagri were among three main accused in the blast onboard Air India Flight 182, Emperor Kanishka, a Boeing 747 aircraft that was on its way to Delhi from Montreal on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 on board.

Malik and Bagri were charged with 329 counts of first-degree murder but were acquitted after Reyat, who was made a prosecution witness, said he could not remember details of the plot or the names of those involved.

Early this year, before the Punjab elections in February, Malik had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thanking him for the steps taken for the welfare of the Sikhs. Listing the various initiatives by the BJP, including reopening of the 1984 riots cases, he had warned against an orchestrated attempt to defame the Prime Minister.

“Ripudaman had made a pilgrimage trip recently to Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra in the month of May after being granted multiple visa,” said Indian World Forum president Puneet Singh Chandhok.

Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi president and former chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Paramjit Singh Sarna said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened at the death of Sardar Ripudaman Singh Malik in Canada. The loss is irreparable. Sardar Malik ran a number of Khalsa schools and was at the forefront of humanitarian efforts in Canada. My sincere condolences to his family. We hope Canadian authorities will launch a thorough investigation into his assassination and bring culprits to book.”

Malik, who founded the Khalsa Credit Union, was acquitted in the Air India case by a Canadian court in 2005.

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Reyat had earlier been convicted and awarded a 10-year sentence for two counts of manslaughter related to a separate blast at Narita airport in Tokyo that killed two Japanese nationals. He got a five-year term for one count of manslaughter for the Kanishka blast.

According to investigators at the time, the bomb on the Air India flight was checked into cargo in a suitcase during a stopover in Vancouver, and exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in Irish airspace at an altitude of 31,000 feet.

The same day another bomb had exploded at Narita airport killing two baggage handlers. The bomb was placed inside a bag that had been checked into a Canadian Pacific Airlines flight in Vancouver and was to be placed later on Air India Flight 301 to Bangkok.

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Canadian and Indian agencies concluded that the two bombings were related and had been planned and executed by Sikh separatists based in Canada following Operation Blue Star of 1984.

First published on: 15-07-2022 at 04:55:37 am
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