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Kanishka: 'We hope there will be an appeal'

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 17, 2005 18:56 IST

Relatives and friends of the victims of the Kanishka bombing on Thursday hoped the acquittal of the two accused in the case would be appealed against in a higher court.

Also see: The families' agony | Coverage

All 329 people on board Air-India's Flight 182, Montreal to London, were killed when the aircraft exploded and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Ireland, on June 23, 1985.

The two main accused in the case, Ripudaman Singh Malik, 57, and Ajaib Singh Bagri, 55, who were tried in a Vancouver court in Canada, were acquitted on Thursday.

K S Bhinder, brother of Flight 182's co-pilot S S Bhinder, told over the phone from his residence in Chandigarh that the judgment had come as a shock to the family.

Also see: Healing will begin, says Bagri

"I still cannot believe that the court has let off the two accused on technical grounds. The judgment is not only surprising, but shocking as well. The case took twenty years to reach this stage and we were hoping that justice would be done. If these people were not involved, then who did it? That is what I would like to know. I would appeal to the Canadian government to file a review petition in the Supreme Court within thirty days," he said.

Pilot S S Bhinder served as squadron leader with the Indian Air Force before he was hired by Air-India in 1978-79. He had an excellent flying record.

Sukhdev Singh, who lives in Merritt, 250 km from Vancouver, and who helped the prosecution in whatever manner he could, is sad that his efforts did not yield the desired results.

Also see: Justice Kirpal disappointed

"The Canadian police had done a wonderful work and had managed to arrest Malik and Bagri. The Gurdwara societies did whatever they could to help the prosecution, but we are disappointed to learn about the judgment. I hope the government of Canada would go in for appeal in this case," Singh, who is in Chandigarh on a holiday, said.

He is currently visiting India and is expected to leave for Canada within a fortnight. "Once I go back I would see what we can do about the appeal," he said.

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