S Jaishankar pays tribute to Kanishka bombing victims

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Photo Courtesy: IBNS File Image

Amid ongoing diplomatic tension between India and Canada over the Khalistan issue, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday observed the 39th anniversary of the Kanishka bombing and said the day is a reminder of why terrorism should never be tolerated.

“Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history,” Jaishankar posted 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. The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated,” he said.

The Indian Embassy in Canada also paid tribute to the victims of the bombing incident and posted on X: “India stands at the forefront of countering the menace of terrorism and works closely with all nations to tackle this global threat.” 

“June 23, 2024 marks the 39th Anniversary of the cowardly terrorist bombing of Air India flight 182 (Kanishka), in which 329 innocent victims including 86 children, lost their lives in one of the most heinous terror-related air disasters in the history of civil aviation,” the Embassy said. 

“A Memorial Service is scheduled at 1200 hrs on June 23, 2024 at the Air India Flight 182 Monument at Commissioner’s Park, Dow’s lake, Ottawa. The High Commission encourages members of the Indian Diaspora to join the event in a show of solidarity against terrorism,” the post further said.

According to reports, the Indian consulate in Vancouver is observing a memorial service at the Air India Memorial at Stanley Park’s Ceperley Playground area.

The consulate in Toronto is going to observe a memorial service at South Lawns, Queens Park.  

Nijjar row

Meanwhile, triggering tension between the two nations, the Canadian Parliament last week observed a minute’s silence in memory of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

India has lodged a strong protest with the Canadian High Commission in Delhi opposing the organization of the Citizen’s Courts by Khalistani activists in Canada.

“We have strongly protested at the Canadian High Commission here. Such courts or gatherings are not helpful at all. We have strongly taken it up with them and asked them to take appropriate action in the matter,” said Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told ANI.

“We have been repeatedly calling upon the government of Canada to take action. Political space provided to extremist anti-India elements and those advocating violence must stop and they must take action,” Jaiswal said.

Nijjar, 45, was shot dead in June last year outside a gurdwara in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population.

A few months later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged Indian government involvement, triggering a diplomatic crisis with New Delhi.

Kanishka Bombing

On June 23, 1985, Air India’s ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182, which was travelling from Montreal to New Delhi, was destroyed in a mid-air explosion, resulting in the loss of 329 innocent lives.