Kanishka tragedy - 'Indians were warned'

Updated on May 30, 2007 06:15 PM IST
A public inquiry reveals that the Sikh militants had warned the Indo-Canadian community against flying on Air India weeks before the bombing.
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PTI | ByBal Krishna, Toronto

In a new revelation, a public inquiry has been told that the Sikh militants had warned the Indo-Canadian community not to fly on Air India weeks before the deadly 1985 Kanishka bombing.

Former Vancouver police officer Don McLean, then part of the Indo-Canadian Liaison Team, testified before the inquiry commission that he heard through his sources around June 9, 1985 - just two weeks before the deadly bombing - that Parmar had warned congregants at the Malton temple not to fly on Air India because it would be dangerous.

McLean, testifying at the Ottawa inquiry for the second time in a month, said his team got more and more intelligence about violent Sikh separatists assaulting and intimidating moderates who spoke out against the Khalistan cause.

McLean testified the separatists "used threats and force in an attempt to accomplish that aim. We investigated numerous assaults," he said, mentioning the February 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, now a member of parliament, as one of the high-profile cases.

The intimidation from the violent extremists made moderate reluctant to cooperate with police, McLean said and added: "It was just the same if the triads were involved or the Hells Angels were involved, the same level of intimidation."

Still, he managed to gather intelligence on some key militants including suspected Air India mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar, which he passed on to both Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

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