Vancouver, Sept. 11 (Reuters): The only person to plead guilty in connection with the bombing of Kanishka in 1985 that killed 329 people told a Canadian court yesterday that he wanted revenge for India’s treatment of Sikhs, but remembers few details of the alleged plot.
Inderjit Singh Reyat, testifying for the first time in public about the attack on the Air-India flight 182, said the prominent Sikh militant who asked him to help make a bomb never told him what it would be used for.
The bomb that exploded on June 23, 1985, as the Boeing 747 neared the Irish coast killed everyone on board in the world’s deadliest act of aviation sabotage before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
Reyat was testifying at the Vancouver murder trial of Ripudamin Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who prosecutors allege were part of a Canadian-based plot of Sikh militants to destroy two Air-India jets.
Malik and Bagri have denied wrongdoing, but Reyat pleaded guilty in February to a reduced charge of manslaughter for acquiring the materials used in the bomb. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
Police have alleged that Kanishka was destroyed as revenge for the army’s June-1984 storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, but Reyat said he was asked to make the bomb before the temple attack. He said Talwinder Singh Parmar, a founder of a Sikh militant group, Babbar Khalsa, made the request and he agreed because he was angry over India’s treatment of Sikhs.
“He didn’t give me any reason, but (told) that he wanted to help people in India... friends,” said Reyat.