Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Globe and Mail Comes Close to Saying the Indian Government is Implicated in Bombing the Air India (Kanishka) Flight

Robert Matas, Globe and Mail reporter, comes close but doesn't quite make the connection between India and the bombing of the Air India flight. If the audio evidence/ forced confession are to be believed then India orchestrated the bombing by having its own agent, "Lakhvir Singh", conscript people in BC into his plan to bomb an airliner.

Sikhs have maintained from the beginning that India had a hand in the bombing in order to discredit the Khalistan movement. Now with this latest news they appear to be vindicated. Whatever anyone else may say, the truth is that no one can now credibly claim that this is a fanciful or spurious argument, the conclusion being that India itself may have in fact been involved to its own discredit. Sikhs also said that 'encounters' were staged by police in Punjab to qualify for promotions based on how many Sikhs they could kill, which is supported by human rights organizations, and evidence in India. Mass cremations were held of people killed in extra-judicial custody. It's now come to light that some people that Indian police officers claimed to have killed, are in fact alive. If India engaged in extra-judicial killings, mass cremations, faked police-militant encounters to hide custodial murders, and murdered innocent people who were then identified as someone else as the information, in the articles previously linked to, show did occur, then how hard is it to believe that Indian government agents were behind the Air India bombing itself?

A mysterious witness at the Air India inquiry, who backed out after being billed as having "seismic" evidence, may have feared retribution from the Indian government, not from Sikh terrorists, Canadian Sikh activist Amanpreet Singh Bal says.

The witness refused to testify at a public hearing in June after inquiry chief John Major acknowledged the commission could not protect his identity. Efforts to protect the witness's name, however, were futile. A reputable magazine in India called Tehelka published his name on the weekend.

Tehelka reported that retired Punjab police officer Harmail Singh Chandi brought the entire record of the confession of prime suspect Talwinder Singh Parmar, including audiotapes and statements, to the inquiry in Ottawa.

Mr. Bal, a long-time member of the Ottawa-based World Sikh Organization, has been active in campaigns concerning "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions in Punjab during unrest in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He laughed when asked why Mr. Chandi would be reluctant to reveal his identity in a public hearing. The former police officer may have feared retribution from the Indian government if he testified in public, Mr. Bal said. Others have previously suggested that the witness had been intimated by Sikh terrorists.

"Let's hope that one day, we will get to the truth," Mr. Bal said. "No matter who did it, we want that person or organization or whoever the mastermind is, to be exposed."

India's high commission in Ottawa declined to be interviewed yesterday. "We have no comment on this," a spokesperson for the high commissioner's office said.

Two bombs exploded 54 minutes apart on opposite sides of the world on June 23, 1985. Police have said the explosions were the work of a Vancouver-based Sikh separatist group, headed by Mr. Parmar. The bomb blasts killed 331 people.

Tehelka reported that Mr. Chandi arrested Mr. Parmar in September, 1992, in India.

During interrogation over five days, Mr. Parmar told police that Lakhbir Singh Brar, who came to Canada as a refugee two months before the bombing, was the ringleader of the conspiracy and arranged for the tickets on two flights from Vancouver, Mr. Chandi told the magazine.

Mr. Parmar said he provided some dynamite for the scheme. Vancouver Island resident Inderjit Singh Reyat built the bombs and put them in the suitcases, Mr. Chandi said, adding that Mr. Parmar was killed while in custody on the order of senior police officers.

Previously, the RCMP has alleged that Mr. Parmar was the mastermind behind the conspiracy. Mr. Reyat, the only person ever convicted in the 22-year-old case, admitted he provided parts that were used for the bombs, but denied building the bombs or even that he knew the bombs were to explode on airplanes.

Mr. Major told Canadian Press he intends to look into the alleged confession when the hearings resume on Sept. 10.

The police have already reviewed a transcript of Mr. Parmar's confession and questioned Mr. Brar.

However, police were not aware that audiotapes of the confession existed. Indian authorities had told the RCMP that the tapes had been destroyed. Mr. Chandi told Tehelka that he violated orders of senior police officers and secretly kept them.

"We never had an actual copy of it," RCMP Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre, a spokesman for the RCMP Air India task force, said in an interview. "If the Indian authorities would now like to make it available, the task force would like to hear from them."

Mr. Brar came to Canada in April, 1985, as a refugee. He was identified as a national security risk by Canada's security service, and deported in the early 1990s.

He is reported to be living in Pakistan and is wanted by the Indian government for minor offences.

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