Rajya Sabha observes a minute’s silence for 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rajya Sabha observes a minute’s silence for 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182

Jul 01, 2024 02:06 PM IST

Until the 9/11 attacks in the US by al-Qaeda, the bombing of Air India flight 182 was the worst aviation-related terrorist attack in history

The Rajya Sabha on Monday observed a minute’s silence for the 329 victims of the deadly bombing of Air India flight 182 in 1985 by Khalistani elements, once again expressing India’s concerns about terrorism.

Parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar, the chairperson of the upper house of Parliament, referred to the bombing of the airliner on June 23, 1985, and said the day marked the anniversary of “one of the darkest days in the fight against terrorism”.

“Two Air India aircraft flying out of Canada were targeted by terrorists [and] 329 innocent people lost their lives when Air India [flight] 182 Kanishka was blown up off Ireland on June 23, 1985,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.

Two more people were killed as “another major catastrophe was narrowly averted in Japan”, he said, referring to the death of two ground crew as they were handling baggage from another Air India flight from Canada.

“Regrettably justice was never fully served in these cases. These incidents are a grim reminder of why the world must show zero tolerance towards terrorism and violent extremism. Such acts can never be condoned or justified or countenanced under any pretext,” Dhankhar said.

Referring to the Rajya Sabha observing a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the airliner named Kanishka, external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on X, “Justice was never fully served to the victims and their families. Let’s vow zero tolerance towards terrorism and violent extremism.”

Until the 9/11 attacks in the US by al-Qaeda, the bombing of Air India flight 182 was the worst aviation-related terrorist attack in history. It remains the worst terror attack in Canadian history, having resulted in the death of all 329 people on board the airliner, including more than 270 Canadian citizens, mostly of Indian origin, and 24 Indians.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar had cited the attack in a post on X on its anniversary last month and the Indian high commission in Ottawa had organised a ceremony to pay homage to the victims. These developments have come at a time when India-Canada relations are at an all-time low over New Delhi’s concerns at the Canadian government’s perceived failure to act against pro-Khalistani elements.

The Rajya Sabha also paid homage to world leaders who died recently, including Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tanzania’s former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Malawi’s vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima. The House recalled their contributions in strengthening bilateral relations.

Dhankhar referred to the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian and other senior officials in a helicopter crash on May 19, and said they will “always be remembered for their efforts and contributions in strengthening our bilateral relationship”. Dhankhar had visited Iran on May 22 to represent India at an official ceremony commemorating the two leaders and India had observed a day of national mourning on May 21.

The Rajya Sabha also expressed condolence and deep sympathy to victims of a devastating fire in a housing complex for foreign workers in Kuwait on June 12 that killed 46 Indian nationals.

Dhankhar described the incident as “painful and unfortunate” and said Indian authorities had taken swift action for the safe evacuation of the injured.

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