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Reyat's Religion and Politics


The Vancouver Sun, Feb. 11, 2003

"Inderjit Singh Reyat once told a prison psychologist he was happiest while praying. When the psychologist asked him what his bad qualities were, Reyat said: 'I don't pray as much as I would like to. That's all. I can't think of anything else.' . . . In 1994 he was assessed at Matsqui Institution, during which he offered this comment about his personality: 'I am a normal, baptized person who follows his religion. I don't do drugs or smoke. I am a vegetarian - I don't eat meat, fish or eggs. I am a family man and a hard worker. I help my community and the Sikh temple and I am honest.' "
"A devout Sikh who supported the struggle for an independent Sikh nation in India, he moved to Vancouver Island in the mid-1970s and almost immediately became embroiled in sometimes raucous temple politics. He once tried to force worshippers attending a temple wedding to put scarves on their heads, even though it was not the practice of the pioneer Sikhs at the time. That almost kept the groom's father, Rajinder Singh Mayo, out of the wedding. 'He was not going to let me go in for my own son's wedding,' Mayo once recalled to The Vancouver Sun. 'He was really active politically in the local community.' "
"Reyat was first arrested along with Babbar Khalsa founder Talwinder Singh Parmar in Nov. 1985, in connection with the Air India explosion, but was convicted on only a minor explosives charge. Police did, however, find an unregistered handgun linked to the same man who provided the gun used to shoot publisher Tara Singh Hayer in 1988. . . . Reyat's lawyer, David Gibbons, told B.C. Supreme Court on Monday that Reyat's father committed suicide because he was so distraught over the charges against his son."
"In Apr. 2000, Reyat's wife, Satnam Kaur, pleaded guilty to taking $109,000 in welfare benefits to which she was not entitled. Her lawyer, Kuldip Singh Chaggar, said at the time that she was entangled in a web of fraud by co-accused Ripudaman Singh Malik and other community leaders who paid her under the table to volunteer at Khalsa School's day care while she was on social assistance. In addition to the illicit payments, Satnam Kaur was also allowed to live rent-free above a day-care centre owned by the charitable Satnam Education Society, which Ripudaman Malik headed. Charitable funds were given to her by Malik to cover the appeals of her husband's conviction. One of the charities even paid for a fence around the Reyat home after Satnam expressed fears that the R.C.M.P.'s Air India Task Force had been in the house."
"Despite all his years in jail, Reyat did not take prison courses recommended for violent offenders. At a 1998 parole hearing, he couldn't recall the names of the two Japanese men he was convicted of killing. The National Parole Board ruled in the summer of 2000 that Reyat could not be released because he continues to adhere to a 'belief system which endorses violent means to achieve a lethal result.' "