Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ray of Hope: Air India bombing victim’s memoir released in Canada

An autobiography of a philanthropist who lost his wife and two children in the 1985 Air India bombing was released in Delta last Sunday (June 24).

Ray of Hope is the memoir of Dr. Chandra Sankurathri whose wife Manjari, son Srikiran and daughter Sarada were aboard the ill-fated Air India Flight 182 when a bomb exploded mid-flight on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people aboard. The aircraft was en route from Canada to India.

This was the worst attack in the history of aviation terrorism before 9/11. Widely blamed on the Sikh separatists seeking revenge for the repression of Sikhs in 1984, the attack had turned Sankurathri’s life upside down. Yet, turning his grief into strength, Sankurathri established a foundation in memory of his wife in her native city of Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, in India.

The Manjarai Sankurathri Memorial Foundation currently runs a free school and an eye hospital for the poor and needy. Whereas, the school is named after his daughter whose dream of going to school was shattered as she was only four, he named the hospital after his son.

The memoir was released at George Mackie Library in his absence by other Air India victims’ families and friends and two prominent journalists Charlie Smith, Editor of Georgia Straight, and Robert Matas, former reporter of The Globe and Mail. However, his message was read out at the beginning of the event that was organized by Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) in commemoration of the Air India bombing anniversary. A day before the book launch, the victims’ families had gathered at the Air India memorial in Stanley Park in Vancouver to remember their loved ones.
25/06/18 Rattan Mali/Voice Online

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