1985 Kanishka bombing one of worst acts of terrorism in history: Jaishankar


New Delhi: The 1985 bombing of ‘Kanishka’ flight is one of the “worst” acts of terrorism in history, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday.
His comments recalling the bombing on its 39th anniversary came amid strain in ties between India and Canada over increasing activities of Khalistani extremists from Canadian soil.
The bombing of the Montreal-New Delhi Air India Flight 182 was blamed on Sikh militants in retaliation to the ‘Operation Bluestar’.
The external affairs minister said the anniversary of the bombing is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated.
“Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history,” Jaishankar said on ‘X’.
“Pay my homage to the memory of the 329 victims of AI 182 ‘Kanishka’ who were killed this day in 1985. My thoughts are with their families,” he said. “The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated,” he added.
The ‘Kanishka’ flight exploded 45 minutes before it was to have landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board, most of them Canadians of Indian descent.
Jaishankar’s comments came two days after India strongly objected to Canadian parliament observing “one minute silence” in memory of Khalistan extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down in British Columbia in June last year.
In an unusual move, the Canadian parliament observed “one minute silence” to mark one year of the killing of Nijjar.
Nijjar, who was declared a terrorist by India, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in British Columbia on June 18 last year.
Meanwhile, paying homage to the victims of ‘Kanishka’ flight bombing, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri wrote on ‘X’, “This dastardly bombing on June 23, 1985 remains one of the most reprehensible acts of terror committed against India.”
Actions anchored in such extremism have no place in a sane and civilised world, he said.
“Unfortunately, the systems and mindsets that condoned the Kanishka bombing and subsequent acts of terrorism continue to find forces and sympathisers violating international norms and commitments to combat violent extremism and terrorism,” Puri, a former diplomat, added.
India has been insisting that the Canadian authorities must take action against those advocating violence.
The relations between the two countries came under severe strain following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in September last year of a “potential” involvement of Indian agents in Nijjar’s killing.
New Delhi rejected Trudeau’s charges as “absurd”.
In a statement on Friday, 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”.
‘Operation Bluestar’ was an India Army operation that was carried out in June 1984 to flush out militants including their leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

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