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SOURCE: PTI

The Indian missions in Canadian capital Ottawa and Toronto city on Sunday marked the 39th anniversary of the 1985 Kanishka bombing in which 329 persons, including 86 children, on board an Air India lost their lives in one of the most heinous terror-related air disasters in the history of civil aviation.

High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma paid homage to the victims of Air India flight 182 Kanishka on the 39th anniversary of the “cowardly terrorist bombing”, the High Commission in Ottawa posted on X along with a series of photographs from the event.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Verma said, “No government in the world should overlook the threat of terrorism emanating from its territories for political gains. Human lives are much more important than the transitory political interests. All terrorist activities should be met with exemplary legal and social actions, before they start harming the larger humanity. Governments, security agencies, and international organisations must work in concert to dismantle terrorist networks, disrupt their financing, and counter their twisted ideologies.” 

Family members and friends of the victims, Canadian government officials, including Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner, Ireland envoy and more than 150 members of the Indo-Canadian community attended the solemn occasion, the High Commission said.

“India shares the sorrow and pain of the victims’ near & dear ones. India stands at the forefront of countering the menace of terrorism and works closely with all nations to tackle this global threat,” it said.

The Montreal-New Delhi Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182 exploded 45 minutes before it was supposed to land at London’s Heathrow Airport on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board, most of them Canadians of Indian descent.

The bombing was blamed on Sikh separatists in retaliation to ‘Operation Bluestar’ to flush out separatists from the Golden Temple in 1984.

The Indian mission in Toronto also marked the day.

“Consul General Siddhartha Nath laid a wreath at the Air India 182 memorial, Humber Park, Etobicoke in solemn remembrance of the 329 victims of the terrorist bombing of AI 182 on this day, 39 years ago,” the Consulate General of India in Toronto posted on X along with a photograph.

In another post on X, the mission said the Consul General also attended the memorial service held at Queen’s Park Toronto for the victims and met with the bereaved families.

“In his remarks he highlighted the importance of unified global efforts to combat terrorism and standing firm against its glorification,” it said, sharing a series of photographs.

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in a post on X paid his homage to the memory of the 329 victims of AI 182 ‘Kanishka’ who were killed on this day in 1985.

“Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history,” he said.

“My thoughts are with their families. The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated,” Mr Jaishankar wrote.

On Friday, the Canadian police said the investigations into the bombing of the Air India Flight 182 remain “active and ongoing”, terming it the “longest” and one of the “most complex domestic terrorism” probes.

In a statement, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Assistant Commissioner David Teboul called the bombing the “greatest terror-related loss of life involving and affecting Canadians” in the country’s history as he offered “deepest sympathies, understanding and support to the families of the victims”.

“The Air India investigation is the longest and certainly one of the most complex domestic terrorism investigations that the RCMP has undertaken in our history,” Teboul said. “Our investigative efforts remain active and ongoing,” he said.