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'Security was lax at Canadian airports'

A lawyer representing the victims of AI bombing says there was lack of security in Canadian airports, despite being warned of the threat.

world Updated: May 09, 2007 12:52 IST

Security was lax at Toronto's Pearson Airport around the time of the 1985 Air India bombing, but it was even worse in Vancouver where the bomb-laden suitcase originated, a lawyer representing the families of victims says on Wednesday.

Jacques Shore, the lawyer who submitted before the commission a report saying that even after a Sikh extremist was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in March 1985 trying to board a flight with pieces of an Uzi submachine-gun in his bag, security was not increased for flights connecting to Air India.

He said the bomb that brought down Air India was put aboard a CP Air flight in Vancouver that connected to Air India Flight 182. The passenger who checked the bag never boarded the connecting flight and was not even confirmed for the Air India flight.

The bombing of the AI flight 182 left 329 people dead on June 23, 1985.

"My question is whether CP was advised and alerted to the fact that there were threats to Air India flights, in fact, because of the connecting baggage and passengers," Shore opined.

He said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had an obligation to make sure Vancouver's airport was secure given that police had already identified a group of Sikh extremists in British Columbia, including suspected bombing mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar, as a threat.