Friday, March 16, 2018

Jagmeet Singh now rejects glorification of Air India bombing mastermind

After having expressed some doubts, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today he accepts the Air India inquiry's conclusion that Talwinder Singh Parmar was the mastermind behind the deadly mid-air bombing that killed hundreds of Canadians — and he thinks it's inappropriate for some Sikhs to glorify Parmar by displaying his photo.

"There was an inquiry that was conducted into this horrible terrorist act. The inquiry identified specifically Talwinder Singh Parmar, and I accept the findings of the investigation, of the inquiry. I accept them and I condemn all those responsible," he said in an interview with the CBC's David Cochrane Thursday.
The 18-month long Air India inquiry, led by former Supreme Court justice John Major, pointed to Parmar as the chief terrorist behind the bombing.

A separate inquiry, carried out by former Ontario NDP premier and Liberal MP Bob Rae, also fingered Parmar as the architect of the 1985 bombing that left 329 people dead — 268 of them Canadians.

In an interview with CBC's Terry Milewski last October, Singh refused to denounce extremists within Canada's Sikh community who glorify Parmar's memory.

When Milewski asked him specifically about Parmar, Singh said this: "I don't know who's responsible [for the bombing] but I think we need to find out who's responsible, we need to make sure that the investigation results in a conviction of someone who is actually responsible."

A day after a 2015 appearance by Singh at a Khalistan "sovereignty" rally ignited criticism, the NDP leader said the inquiry's findings are not in doubt and he accepts that Sikh extremists were behind the attack.

Singh said the aftermath of the bombing was painful not only for the families of the victims but also for many Sikhs who felt they were "collectively punished for the acts of some individuals."

Because of the history of violence and persecution directed at some Sikhs, it has been hard for some in the community to accept that Parmar was to blame, he said.

"There are some in the community that don't accept the official record," he said.
When asked if he thought it was appropriate for some gurdwaras — Sikh houses of worship — to display pictures of Parmar, Singh said he did not.

"Personally, I think the displaying of a picture of Mr. Parmar is something that re-traumatizes and hurts and injures people that are suffering so much in terms of that loss in their lives," he said.

"I don't think it's appropriate, so I don't think it should be done. It doesn't help us move forward with peace and reconciliation."
15/03/18 John Paul/CBC News
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