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Kanishka victims reject Canada's $24,000 ex-gratia 

Toronto, July 11, 2011: Air India Kanishka victims' families have rejected the Canadian government's offer of $24,000 each for the 1985 bombing that killed all 329 people on board the plane near the Irish coast.

The Kanishka flight 182 to Delhi from Montreal was blown off mid-air by a bomb planted by Vancouver-based Khalistani radicals to avenge the Indian army action at the Golden Temple in June 1984.

The Canadian government announced the $24,000 ex-gratia during a meeting with families - as recommended by the Air India inquiry commission, headed by former Canadian chief justice John Major, which submitted its report last year.

A government spokesman said since most victims' families were compensated in the early 1990s, the $24,000 ex-gratia is just "a demonstration of solicitude and recognition for the administrative disdain families experienced over the years following the tragedy".

But the offer - which amounts to $7.9 million in total - enraged victim families who called it insulting to the memory of their loved ones.

"Once more we are treated with disdain. It seems that Indian life is cheap in the eyes of Canadian politicians. This is so degrading," Melbourne-based Anil Singh Hanse, whose father Narendra Singh Hanse was the pilot of the ill-fated plane, told IANS.

He said the victims' families will "pursue this (issue) in an international court as Canada is biased. This is xenophobia at its worst. Canada's politicians need to wake up and stop being in denial".

Hanse denied his family receiving any compensation from Canada. "Let me be clear that we received not even 10 cents from Canada for the gross negligence which saw 329 innocents blown up. The spokesman is making misleading statements by saying most were settled."

Amarjit Bhinder, whose husband Satinder Bhinder was the co-pilot of the flight, said the ex-gratia payment is "an extreme insult to our loved ones. Canada killed, rather murdered, our 329 loved ones with its negligence. We will fight as long as it takes us to get justice...we will explore the possibility of approaching the human rights commission (international) and whatever other options are available to us".

Bhinder said, "Had Canada allowed my husband to live an average life, he would have flown the planes till November 2008 and earned 24,000 Canadian dollars in less than 45 days. I cannot allow anyone to insult my husband."

Toronto-based Shipra Rana, whose sister Shyla Juju was the Kanishka flight attendant, said, "Please do not dishonour the memory of our loved ones. It is better not to offer anything than an offer of 900 dollars per year for being treated as offenders instead of victims."

She said since the overseas victims' families were not compensated in the 1990s, Canada should hold meaningful consultations with them for proper compensation.

Only one person - Inderjit Singh Reyat - has been jailed for what is known as the second worst aviation disaster after 9/11.

Air India victims echo judge's remarks on Sikh radicals  

Vancouver, May 12, 2011: Reacting to remarks of a Canadian judge, who headed the 1985 Air India bombing inquiry, in Chandigarh Tuesday that Sikh radicals were more active in Canada than India, victims of the 1985 bombing say he is "telling the truth".

Speaking at a media conference in Chandigarh, former Canadian chief justice John C. Major, who last year submitted his inquiry into the 1985 bombing of the Air India Kanishka flight from Canada to India, reportedly said, "Sikh radicals are more active in Surrey (in Canada) than in India. They are a closed group. They can also target India.''

A Vancouver suburb city of over 450,000 people, Surrey is home to the largest concentration of the Sikh Punjabi community in Canada.

Blamed on Vancouver-based pro-Khalistanis, the Kanishka bombing June 23, 1985, off the Irish coast killed all 329 people on board.

Bal Gupta, president of the Air India Victim Families' Association who lost his wife in the bombing, told IANS, "Yes, threat still exists from these people. Those who bombed the Air India flight are still roaming free in Canadian society. These crooks can do anything.''

Former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh, who is facing three lawsuits in Canada and India for saying that Sikh radicals are still active in Canada, said he felt vindicated by Justice John Major's remarks.

"If there is one person that ought to know about Sikh radicals in Canada, it is John Major who headed the inquiry. It is somewhat disconcerting and calls for concern for the Canadian government and the Canadian public that he has come to the same conclusion (about radicals) that I have maintained all these years.''

Dosanjh, who was badly beaten up by pro-Khalisan radicals here in the 1980s, said, "The very fact that I am being sued by an organization whose genesis was in violence and by individuals from Canada shows that pro-Khalistan elements are more active in Canada than India.''

Both Bal Gupta and Ujjal Dosanjh agreed with the judge's remarks that the Canadian government was not doing enough to implement his inquiry recommendations on security and ex-gratia for the victims.

Anil Singh Hanse, son of Kanishka pilot Narendra Singh Hanse, added, "For Justice John Major to travel to India and mention this issue means that he is feeling embarrassed that his country Canada are behaving in this tardy and non-chalant manner.

"Thirty-two million dollars is a lot of money to spend on an inquiry if it was grandstanding by the Canadian government to show the world look we care. If some straightforward answers are given as to what recommendations are going to be implemented ( or not) will be appreciated by us - the family members.''.....IANS/

Now, a 'Star Wars' theory for Kanishka bombing 

Shillong, March 2, 2011: Even as the mystery over the Air India Kanishka bombing continues, a report released Wednesday by a rights activist in Meghalaya suggested that the plane could have been the victim of a "Star Wars" experiment by the US.

"The plane (Kanishka) could have been the victim of the Strategic Defence Initiative or the so called "Star Wars" experiment," said Michael N. Syiem in his report titled "The Sixth Possibility".

The laser-based Star Wars technology was launched in 1983 by the Ronald Reagan administration with the aim of protecting the US from missile attacks by erecting an impenetrable defensive missile shield across the entire North American continent.

It was quietly shelved after the Kanishka explosion in 1985.

Kanishka, the Air India flight 182 operating on the Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay route, was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board.

In his 29 page report, Syiem said that on June 23, 1985, the Americans, in their second attempt succeeded in testing their functional accuracy of the Star War technology, when Kanishka exploded mid-air into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland.

The US space agency NASA had launched the 18th flight of the space shuttle "Discovery" June 17, 1985 with the mission to determine whether a laser beam could track the a speeding missile warhead and explode it in mid-air before it could reach its target.

"There were five theories regarding the cause of the Kanishka disaster which includes: mechanical failure, mid-air collision after debris of a Soviet space rocket hit the plane, insurance fraud as per the angle of Canadian police, the alleged sabotage of Indian intelligence agencies and the bomb explosion carried out purportedly by Sikh terrorists, but none of these have been proven till date," he said.

"The Indian government can also start their investigations on the role of the US with regards to the launching of the laser beams on that fateful morning when the Kanishka exploded in mid-air," Syiem told journalists.

To strengthen his theory, Syiem narrated the "Tuskegee Syphilis experiment" carried out by the US on innocent human beings in the name of experiments. The then American president Bill Clinton had formally apologised May 16, 1997 for the experiment.

The infamous experiment, that ran for 40 years (1932-1972) was conducted by the US Public Health Service on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. These men from Tuskegee in Alabama were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness.

Syiem claimed that his book can act as a reference on the Kanishka incident from 1985 till date, which can be of immense use to historians and investigators to find out the truth behind the disaster.

"This sixth possibility could be just another science fiction story and could be described as absurd and far fetched. But, when in history have science and its inventions ever stopped to surprise and keep the common man in constant awe, whether it is the first motor car, the first airplane, the first atomic bomb, or the first Star Wars laser technology," Syiem asked.

Syiem said that he will send the copy of his report to the Canadian embassy in India as the Canadian authorities in 1995 had announced $730,000 for the effort to solve the Air India bombing that killed all on board.......IANS/