Enhance security for Air India flights, India asks Canada after SFJ group issues threat
This comes after SFJ’s general-counsel Gurpatwant Pannun warned Sikhs in Punjabi, “Don’t fly Air India after November 19, your lives may be in danger”
Toronto: India will raise the threat to Air India flights to and from Canada from the secessionist group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and seek enhanced security for the airline with Canadian authorities.
The threat was made by SFJ’s general-counsel Gurpatwant Pannun in a video released on Saturday. In the video he warns Sikhs, in Punjabi, “Don’t fly Air India after November 19, your lives may be in danger.” That sentence is repeated twice. In a statement issued along with the video, Pannun called for a ‘Global blockade’ of the airline from Vancouver to London.
In a response to a query from the Hindustan Times, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma said, “We shall take up the threat against Air India flights originating from and terminating in Canada, with the concerned Canadian authorities.”
Air India operates multiple weekly direct flights between the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver to New Delhi.
“We have studied the contents of the video, which is in clear violation of Chicago Convention, which lays out a framework for international civil aviation operations. Canada and India, among many other nations, are Parties to the Convention.
The bilateral civil aviation agreement between India and Canada has provisions to tackle such threats, Verma added in his response to HT.
The Convention on International Civil Aviation, better known as the Chicago Convention, was drafted in 1944 by 54 nations and had established “the core principles permitting international transport by air”, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The targeting of Air India is reminiscent of the circumstances leading up to what remains the worst incident of terrorism in Canadian history. On June 23, 1985, the bombing of Air India flight 182, the Kanishka, by Khalistani terrorists, led to the loss of 329 lives, while two baggage handlers in Tokyo’s Narita airport died from a blast from another bomb on another airplane.
The day continues to be commemorated in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. However, extremist groups continue to venerate the person considered the mastermind of the attack, Talwinder Singh Parmar. In fact, in June this year, pro-Khalistan elements took out a rally in his memory to the memorial for victims of the Air India terror attack in Toronto.