Saturday, October 07, 2006

Living with pain of Air India

Ottawa: If ever there was a woman whose life is the very symbol of cultural diversity, civility and tolerance, it is Renee Saklikar.
Born in India, she arrived in Canada with her parents as an infant. Her mother was Muslim, her father a Hindu who converted to Christianity and became a United Church minister.
She's lived from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Yesterday, Saklikar sat before the Air India inquiry, explaining how the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history and criminal investigation led her to question her beliefs.
The last straw, she told former Supreme Court judge John Major, came last year when two prime suspects, Ripudaman Sing Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted.
"Despite my education as a lawyer, I found the aftermath of living with the trial's verdict forcing me to question my own belief in Canada as a just and inclusive society."
Saklikar, whose aunt and uncle died when Air India Flight 182 went down in June 1985, understood the point made by presiding judge Ian Josephson -- that there just wasn't enough credible evidence to find the accused guilty. But intellectual understanding was one thing, emotional impact another.
06/10/06 CP/Toronto Sun