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Canada opens monument to A-I victims

Families of the victims of the 1985 Air India flight 182 bombing laid the first stone on Friday at a memorial dedicated 21 years to the day.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 10:59 IST

Families of the victims of the 1985 Air India flight 182 bombing laid the first stone on Friday at a memorial dedicated 21 years to the day after one of the world's worst air attacks.

Set up on the bank of Lake Ontario in Toronto, the monument will have names of the 329 mostly Canadian victims engraved on a wall once completed by next June.

"Today on the anniversary of the Air India tragedy and Canada's national day to remember victims of terror, our thoughts are with the families of those who have died from such senseless acts," said Canada's public safety minister, Stockwell Day.

The airliner was bombed off the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985, by radical orthodox Sikh immigrants to Canada, according to prosecutors. The blast killed 329 passengers and crew members.

Less than an hour later, another bomb inside a suitcase blew up at Narita airport in Japan, killing two baggage handlers as they transferred it to another Air India flight.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his government was committed to protecting Canada from future terror strikes while at the same time preserving a spirit of national tolerance.

"Our government is committed to doing everything within its power to protect the lives of its citizens and to defend the tolerant, generous and open society that has made us the best country in which to live," Harper said.