Saturday, June 24, 2017

Families of Air India victims gather in Stanley Park, repeat calls for justice

Ram and Sudha Jalan were visiting Vancouver from Bangalore, India, Friday when they read a Postmedia News article about the Air India memorial service at Stanley Park.

Ram lost his brother, his sister-in-law and their two children in the June 23, 1985, terrorist bombing.

“This just happened to be a coincidence,” Ram said just before the evening service began. “I wouldn’t have known about this memorial if I hadn’t read the newspaper.”

The Jalans touched the sandstone memorial wall near Second Beach that bears the names of their lost loved ones — Krishan, Shila, Anita and Vinay, who lived in Toronto.

They met others whose family members died when Air India Flight 182 was blown up off the coast of Ireland by a B.C.-made bomb.

Ram said it was difficult because “these are bad memories.”

Former B.C. premier and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh greeted the Jalans on behalf of the people of the province and the country.

And he scolded politicians and the RCMP for not doing more to bring justice for the 331 people who lost their lives on the Air India flight and in the same-day bomb blast at Tokyo’s Narita Airport that killed two baggage handlers.

Police “should get off their backsides and conduct an investigation aggressively to ensure there is finally justice with respect to the victims’ families,” Dosanjh said.

“This was the largest aviation terror attack in the history of the world when it happened. And we didn’t give it the attention and the concern that it actually deserved from … the governments of Canada.”

Dosanjh said federal political parties of varying stripes have maintained connections to “the forces that actually brought down Air India.

“The ideological descendants and successors of those forces sit in the highest positions in all of the political parties today,” he said. “And politicians need to stand up and take notice that we are watching and that they should be careful.”
24/06/17 Kim Bolan/Vancouver Sun