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Canada asked to raise Kanishka bombing ex-gratia

world Updated: Nov 27, 2010 11:06 IST

The Indian Overseas Congress in the US has urged Canada to raise its proposed ex-gratia of $25,000 each to the families of 329 victims of the Air India Kanishka bombing in 1985.

In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the NRI body has said that the victim families of the Kanishka tragedy deserve to be compensated suitably.

Vikram Bajwa, who heads the Indian Oversees Congress unit in California, in his letter to the prime minister has said the proposed $25,000 amounts to "disrespect to the lost souls'' who perished in the worst aviation tragedy till 9/11 happened.

He said Canada should "at least honour the insurance policy terms, (prevailing) in 1985, which allow $ 1 million, for each occurrence and accident'' as per the Air Insurance Rules.

Though families of each victim were paid upward of $75,000 in an out-of-court settlement in 1991, the John Major inquiry commission in its June report asked the Canadian government to make additional compensation to the victim families even as it said that "no money can heel the wounds of the victims, deprived of justice for 25 Years.''

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told IANS last month that the government will pay $25,000 to the each victim
family soon.

"The ex-gratia payment will be made by Christmas. It has taken too long (to put closure to the tragedy) and the prime minister wants it done quickly. The government is continuing its consultations with the families about what should be an appropriate amount,'' the minister said.

All 329 people on board Kanishka Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi perished when it was blown off mid-air near the Irish coast June 23, 1985, by a bomb planted by Khalistani militants to avenge the Indian army action at the Golden Temple in June 1984.