Unfortunate that acts glorifying terrorism allowed in Canada routinely: Indian High Commission

Ottawa: Terming the frequent acts glorifying terrorism in Canada as “deplorable”, India has said it was “unfortunate” that such actions are allowed to be “routine” on many occasions here when it should be condemned by all peace-loving countries and people.

In a statement on the 39th anniversary of the 1985 Kanishka bombing, in which 329 persons, most of them Canadians of Indian descent, on board an Air India flight lost their lives, the Indian High Commission said that terrorism knows “no borders, nationality, or race”.

The Montreal-New Delhi Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182 exploded 45 minutes before it was to have landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board, including 86 children.

The bombing was blamed on Sikh militants in retaliation to ‘Operation Bluestar’ to flush out militants from the Golden Temple in 1984.

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa and the consulates of India in Toronto and Vancouver organised memorial services on Sunday and solemnly remembered the victims of the “dastardly act of terror” in 1985.

“While thirty-nine years have passed since the cowardly act, terrorism has unfortunately assumed proportions of an existential threat to international peace and security today,” the Indian high commission’s statement said.

“Any act of glorifying terrorism, including the bombing of Al-182 in 1985, is deplorable and should be condemned by all peace-loving countries and people,” it said.

“It is unfortunate that such actions are allowed to be routine on many occasions in Canada,” it added.

Last week, India strongly objected to the Canadian parliament observing a “one-minute silence” in memory of Khalistan extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was gunned down in British Columbia in June last year.

India also insisted on Friday that the Canadian authorities must take action against those advocating violence and carrying out an anti-India campaign in Canada.

India lodged a strong protest with Canada on Thursday over Khalistani extremists holding a so-called “citizens court” and burning an effigy of the Indian prime minister outside the Indian consulate in Vancouver.

Asserting that terrorism knows “no borders, nationality, or race” and it is a challenge that the international community needs to combat collectively, the Indian mission here said that over the years, India has led from the front to counter-terrorism with support from like-minded countries.

Terming the Kanishka bombing “the worst ever in Canadian aviation history to date”, the Indian mission said that the incident will remain an “unbearable loss” not only for the victims’ families but also for humanity as a whole.

“The perpetrators and the co-conspirators of this dastardly act remain free,” it said.

Quoting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the statement said, “…Nor must we countenance that political convenience determines responses to terrorism, extremism and violence. Similarly, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs cannot be exercised in cherry picking.” It called the spirit of the minister’s statement from his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last year the “best tribute” to the victims of Air India Flight 182 bombing.

High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma on Sunday paid homage to the victims of Air India flight 182 Kanishka on the 39th anniversary of the “cowardly terrorist bombing”, the High Commission in Ottawa posted on X along with a series of photographs from the event.

Family members and friends of the victims, Canadian government officials, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner, Ireland envoy and more than 150 members of the Indo-Canadian community attended the solemn occasion, the High Commission said.

“India shares the sorrow and pain of the victims’ near & dear ones. India stands at the forefront of countering the menace of terrorism and works closely with all nations to tackle this global threat,” it said.

The Indian mission in Toronto also marked the day.

“Consul General Siddhartha Nath laid a wreath at the Air India 182 memorial, Humber Park, Etobicoke, in solemn remembrance of the 329 victims of the terrorist bombing of AI 182 on this day, 39 years ago,” the Consulate General of India in Toronto posted on X along with a photograph.

In another post on X, the mission said the Consul General also attended the memorial service held at Queen’s Park Toronto for the victims and met with the bereaved families.

The memorial services were held at a time when relations between Canada and India are 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” and “motivated”.

India has been maintaining that the main issue between the two countries is that of Ottawa giving space to pro-Khalistan elements operating from Canadian soil with impunity.