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Bagri supported A-I hijacking: Witness

July 08, 2004 14:51 IST

The main accused in Kanishka aircraft bombing case, Ajaib Singh Bagri, had said that 'supporters of Khalistan' who hijack aircraft should be supported and called for deadly revenge against former prime minister Indira Gandhi and destruction of Delhi, in a speech just 11 months before the June 1985 tragedy in which 331 people were killed, a Canadian court was told.

Gian Singh Kotli, a professional translator and a defence witness, had alleged that the prosecution had distorted Bagri's speech, which was delivered in Punjabi, by failing to understand its context within Sikh history and literature and repeatedly rejected the suggestion that the accused has urged Sikhs to take revenge against all Hindus.

However, he conceded in court that Bagri's speech was teeming with rage, filled with violent images and called for revenge against Gandhi and the Government of India.

He acknowledged that Bagri called for revenge 11 times while addressing a Sikh gathering at New York's Madison Garden. Kotli agreed with prosecutor Richard Cairns that the accused called for destruction of Delhi and said traitors to Khalistan should be harmed.

When asked whether Bagri was trying to 'inflame passions and arouse national pride', Kotli replied with a straight "Yes".

Kotli, who was cross-examined for four days, told the court that he was confused by the questions of the prosecution lawyer and appeared flustered when forced to acknowledge mistakes in his translation.

Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik are accused of killing 331 by planting bombs in two Air India flights.

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